(WAFB) - Incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards will not secure the votes needed to win a primary election held in Louisiana Saturday, Oct. 12. He will face republican newcomer Edward “Eddie” Rispone in a runoff.
Rispone, a self-proclaimed political outsider, claims his pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Second Amendment political ideology was shaped by his Christian and Conservative upbringing. He’s said previously, in fact, a whisper from God led him to run against Edwards.
Rispone is among Louisiana’s wealthy residents. He leveraged a Construction Technology degree from Louisiana State University into ISC Constructors, a construction business reaching across several states which he says rakes in hundreds-of-millions of dollars each year.
It’s his success as a businessman that served as a launching point for his campaign, which was modeled in the same fashion as the 2016 campaign of businessman Donald Trump. In 2016, Trump promoted his inexperience in politics and success in business among America’s working class, securing a winning bid for President of the United States.
Rispone showed respect for President Trump and other prominent Republicans, though Republican leadership would not pick him or his competitor Ralph Abraham as the party favorite.
It was a strategy used by Republican leadership because Edwards polled ahead of both candidates.
Conservative leaders hoped and rallied for this outcome in the days leading to Edward’s election, including President Donald Trump who rallied Republican voters on Election Day eve to support either of the Republican candidates.
Edwards, an unlikely contender when compared to better known Democrats like former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, dared to undertake what other Democrats saw as a pointless endeavor by campaigning for state office after serving in the legislature for eight years.
During the campaign, Edwards scooped up endorsements from Louisiana’s law enforcement community and won over Republican voters fatigued with their party because of Jindal and a sex scandal plaguing Republican front runner in the race for governor, David Vitter.
An added bonus to Edwards’ bi-partisan popularity was his conservative stances on many topics, which after becoming governor-elect helped him end the state’s billion-dollar money issues with a Legislature dominated by Republicans.
Edwards’ election broke through an eight-year lockout of Democratic governors across the Deep South. He immediately set out to address the state’s financial issues inherited from Jindal’s administration.
While the fight to restore balance to the state’s finances defined the first half of Edwards’ tenure, the second half was defined by ongoing battles sprung in the wake of the Trump administration. Voters and politicians were suddenly reminded of Edwards’ conservative-leaning stance on polarizing issues, the most notable being signing a measure outlawing abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, without exceptions for pregnancies from rape or incest. Signing the law caused a rift between Edwards and his party, with many notable Democrats condemning Edwards.
Beyond angering his fellow Democrats, Edwards’ faced considerable opposition from Republican officials from Louisiana, including Sen. John Kennedy and General Attorney Jeff Landry who cultivated an image as the ideal Republican official by opposing Edwards on issues ranging from healthcare, state finances, the death penalty, and most notably LGBTQ protections.
Both were rumored to be potential competitors for Edwards in the election, but eventually announced they decided not to enter the race.
The General Election will be held on Nov. 16.
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