Gubernatorial Debate

Eddie Rispone speaks during the Gubernatorial debate on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, in the Student Union Theater.

If there are only two things guaranteed in Louisiana politics, it’s that it will always keep you on your toes and will make for a great story. Gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone is the political underdog who is likely to find himself leading the incumbent blue dog, John Bel Edwards, after the November runoff.

When Rispone entered the gubernatorial race, he entered a race that initially seemed unlikely for him to win. Rispone’s two major opponents were an incumbent, moderate Democrat governor who had a fair shot of being re-elected in the primary election, and a conservative, veteran, veterinarian, doctor and farmer congressman. Rispone was relatively unknown to the state of Louisiana. Facts are stubborn things, and Rispone had hard work to do. Fortunately, Eddie Rispone is a hard worker. 

With a strong war chest and ambition, Rispone made a name for himself. He nearly dominated state airwaves and social media, where seemingly endless commercials revealed who Rispone was. In arguably his best commercial, Rispone revealed that he, like countless Louisianans, grew up in a working-class home, found value in honest labor and built his fortunes through perseverance and perspiration.

Having met Rispone personally, he truly does live up to the family-man standard. Rispone did not just introduce himself to the Louisiana public through his advertisements, he revealed that he embodies the American dream that still thrives in Louisiana.

Rispone has commonly likened himself to President Donald Trump throughout his gubernatorial campaign; however, it is likely the case that Rispone leads an incomparably better race. To begin with, Rispone emulates the best qualities of Trump. Rispone is old-fashioned, industrious and tenacious. Rispone, like Trump, simply knows how to make money and take care of working people. Ultimately, these were the qualities that compelled Louisiana voters to put their vote toward Trump, and will be the reason Louisiana will likely be red in November. 

While U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham was using Trump tactics in his campaign. He came off as standoffish, a quality that Louisiana voters are exhausted of. Meanwhile, Gov. John Bel Edwards fully embraced the strategy of being hardline anti-Trump. Edwards seemed to forget that he lives in a red state where Trump voters are the dominant population.

Rispone split the difference perfectly. Rispone managed to get across that he holds himself to the moral standards respected by Louisiana voters while also ensuring that he can concentrate the same economic prosperity of the Trump administration into Louisiana. 

Ultimately, Rispone has a great chance of winning the gubernatorial election. He is a man of outstanding class, has thorough and reasonable plans to benefit the state, knows how to work well with others and can serve as a catalyst for Louisiana growth. Following the primary election, Rispone and Abraham embraced each other as friends, both dedicated to Louisiana. Following the final results of the primary Abraham gladly endorsed Rispone. Abraham and his team put up a great fight and should be proud of the work they accomplished.

Come November, we can expect Rispone to thank Edwards for his service upon a Republican victory, and all Republicans should be compelled to do likewise. Edwards has done a fair job of keeping this state intact, and his commitment to serving the people of Louisiana is unquestionable. But in the end, Louisiana and Rispone are both deep red, love industry and crave a booming economy. Under an underdog governor, Louisiana will be assured a proud eight years.

Brett Landry is a 20-year-old mass communication senior from Bourg, Louisiana. 

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