On Oct. 12, as LSU football fans anxiously awaited the final score of the LSU vs University of Florida game, Louisiana voters waited for the results of another important competition: the gubernatorial primary race.
To the surprise of many, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards led the results with 46.6% of the vote, an impressive number but 3.4 percentage points away from winning the primary and securing another term as governor.
Leading up to the primary, news outlets and polling groups speculated that President Donald Trump’s tweets attacking Edwards, as well as his visit to Lake Charles, would damage Edwards’ lead in the polls. Among other attacks against Edwards, Trump claimed that if Louisianans did not elect a Republican, “(their) 2nd Amendment, and much else, (would be) at stake.” Edwards has consistently supported the Second Amendment throughout his time in office, as reflected by his “A” rating from the NRA. The claim shows how little effort Trump put into attacking the Democratic candidate.
Impressively enough for a deeply red state like Louisiana, Edwards’ polling numbers did not suffer too much from the vitriol he received from Trump days before the primary. An average of the results of multiple polling agencies showed his support at 46.2% before the election. This is a far cry from the 66% that Trump claimed Edwards once held in a tweet following the results of the primary.
For voters hoping to see Edwards in office for a second term, the consistency in polling numbers before and after Trump’s concerted efforts to see him go are an assurance that Louisiana is not entirely at the mercy of Trump’s whims. Despite the number of die-hard Trump fans within Louisiana, it is a relief to see that a few tweets filled with “fake news” from Trump did not completely swing the primary election from a Democratic governor who has lifted Louisiana from a serious deficit to a Republican candidate who plans to roll back the very changes that helped Louisiana.
In a perfect world, Trump would ignore the partisan lines that divide him from Edwards and simply support the candidate that has done the most objective good for Louisiana up to this point. Going into the run-off on Nov. 16, however, Trump will likely push further to get businessman Eddie Rispone the majority vote. I hope Louisianans remain unaffected by the inevitable lies Trump will throw at the incumbent governor and continue to vote based on their own observations of how Louisiana has improved under Gov. Edwards’ leadership.
Cécile Girard is a 19-year-old biology and psychology sophomore from Lake Charles, Louisiana.