Gov. Edwards (D), Rispone (R) advance to general election in Louisiana
Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) advanced from Louisiana’s primary election Saturday as the top two finishers out of six candidates. Edwards received 46% of the vote and Rispone received 27%. U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R) was third with 24% of the vote. The general election will be held November 16.
Louisiana uses what’s known as a blanket primary, where all candidates in any race appear on the ballot—regardless of party. A candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the primary vote. Otherwise, the top two finishers advance to a general election.
Edwards campaigned on what he considers the accomplishments of his administration. Rispone emphasized his background as a businessman, referring to himself as a conservative outsider and job creator.
President Donald Trump (R) and the Louisiana Republican Party endorsed both Rispone and Abraham. Trump held a campaign rally with both candidates in the state Friday. Several polls leading up to the primary showed either Rispone and Abraham tied within the margin of error for second place or Rispone with a small advantage.
Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. He defeated U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R) in the general election in 2015 with 56% of the vote. Trump won the state—58% to 38%—in 2016. Louisiana’s previous governor—Bobby Jindal (R)—received 65.8% of the vote in the primary to win re-election in 2011.
According to unofficial vote totals, 1,343,478 total votes were cast in Saturday’s primary. This was 230,002 more than the 1,113,476 votes cast in the 2015 primary. The distribution of 2019 primary votes by party—based on unofficial vote totals—was 51.8% for the three Republican candidates, 47.4% for the two Democrats, and 0.8% for one independent candidate.
Of the five gubernatorial elections in Louisiana between 1999 and 2015, three were won outright in the primary and two—in 2003 and 2015—proceeded to general elections.