In 1999, then Governor Mike Foster won an easy re-election victory. The next Governor, Kathleen Blanco, did not run for re-election in 2007, so Bobby Jindal became Governor. When he faced the voters again in 2011, he was easily re-elected.
After four years as Governor, John Bel Edwards is now seeking another term in office. He has tremendous advantages such as the power of incumbency, a massive campaign war chest, friendly political action committees with deep pockets and a liberal statewide media which is very supportive of his agenda. His commercials have been running non-stop for many weeks on statewide television.
Even though he is the only Democrat Governor in the Deep South and the only elected Democrat in a statewide office in Louisiana, Edwards is leading in all the major polls. Of course, he has a name recognition advantage over his relatively unknown opponents
His major liability is that he is a member of the Democratic Party, which is unpopular in Louisiana. Other than the Governor’s race, the Louisiana Democratic Party is not seriously contesting any of the major statewide elected positions. In the legislature, the Democrat’s minority position will get worse after the next election in both the House and the Senate.
While Edwards is a member of a political party that is moving toward progressive ideas espoused by presidential candidates such as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Republicans have an incumbent President who is very popular in Louisiana.
In 2016, Republican Donald Trump won Louisiana’s electoral votes by easily dispatching Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump won an impressive 58% of the vote.
As a GOP President, Trump can help a Republican gubernatorial candidate win a position in the run-off against Edwards. The best way for the President to increase GOP support in Louisiana is to appear on television commercials and at rallies throughout the state for the two major Republican candidates: Congressman Ralph Abraham (R-Alto) and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone.
If Trump shows support for both candidates, he will leave the decision to the voters, but remind the people of Louisiana that he wants to work with a Republican Governor. Otherwise, he may decide to endorse one of the candidates prior to the primary election on October 12.
In a recent radio interview, U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) said that he will encourage Trump to campaign in Louisiana in the run-off election for whatever GOP candidate faces Governor Edwards.
The problem with this idea is that without President Trump’s help, Edwards may win over 50% of the vote in the primary election, avoiding the need for a run-off.
Don’t wait President Trump, visit Louisiana during the final weeks of the primary election in late September or early October. Use your popularity to encourage voters to elect a Republican Governor. If not, Louisiana may be saddled with four more years of failed liberal policies from Governor Jon Bel Edwards.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org