Gov. Edwards re-elected; loses in Washington Parish

John Bel Edwards (pictured) narrowly lost in Washington Parish and narrowly won statewide as he was re-elected Saturday to a second term as Louisiana’s governor. Edwards, a Democrat from Amite, lost the parish to Republican Eddie Rispone by a 52-48% margin. He won statewide by an even closer margin: 51-49%. He overcame a massive effort by President Trump to elect Rispone. Trump came to Louisiana three times during the campaign in an effort to defeat Edwards. In the end, heavy turnout produced by the hotly contested run-off may have been what saved Edwards, as he racked up massive vote majorities in the state’s four largest metropolitan areas, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Jefferson Parish (Metairie-Kenner), and Shreveport. While turnout was much heavier in Saturday’s run-off than it was in the October 12 primary in much of the state, in Washington Parish turnout was actualy slightly lower. 13,635 voters participated in the primary for governor on October 12, for a 50% turnout rate. Saturday, in the run-off, 12,892 participated, for a turnout rate of 46.3%. Early voting for the run-off started off strong, and voting officials had expected a better turnout for the run-off than what actually occurred. In another closely watched race, Washington Parish native Will Crain racked up 88% of the vote in his home parish as he raced to a district-wide 57-43% victory enroute to a seat on the State Supreme Court. Crain, currently a State Court of Appeal judge, is the son of well-known former Judge Hillary Crain of Bogalusa. For the District 1 seat on the Parish Council, Republican Joe Culpepper defeated Democrat Melvin Keith. Culpepper is a former Bogalusa Police Chief. The District 1 Parish Council seat is based in the Bogalusa area. With Culpepper’s victory in the run-off election, the incoming Parish Council will have a 5-2 Republican majority, for the first time ever. Five of the Parish Councilmen who will be sworn in are newcomers. Only Reginald McMasters of Franklinton and Rusty Fornea of Pine will be returning to the new Parish Council.