Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) won re-election Saturday. He received 51.3% of the vote to businessman Eddie Rispone’s (R) 48.7%.
Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South. He was elected to his first term in 2015. He campaigned on what he considered accomplishments of his administration, including Medicaid expansion, the end of the state’s budget deficit, and teacher pay raises. Rispone described himself as a conservative outsider and job creator and highlighted that he was endorsed by President Donald Trump (R). Trump won Louisiana by 20 percentage points in 2016 and held two rallies in the state in support of Rispone ahead of Saturday’s election.
Edwards was the first incumbent governor to run in a general election since the state adopted its all-party primary system—in which a candidate can win an election outright by receiving a majority of the primary vote—in 1975. One other incumbent advanced to a general election but conceded to his opponent ahead of the election. Of the five other incumbents who ran for re-election, two lost in primaries and three won outright in primaries.
With Edwards’ win, the state will remain under divided government. A win from Rispone would have made Louisiana a Republican trifecta, meaning Republicans would have controlled the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the state legislature. Republicans maintained majorities in both chambers in 2019.
This was the final gubernatorial election of the three held in 2019. Heading into the 2019 elections, Republicans held 27 governorships to Democrats’ 23 across the country. As a result of 2019’s elections, Republicans will hold 26 governorships to Democrats’ 24. Andy Beshear (D) defeated incumbent Matt Bevin (R) in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race.