(WAFB) - President Trump made it clear during his visits to Louisiana what the stakes were during the runoff election.
"By supporting Eddie, you will deliver a powerful rebuke to the socialists trying to sabotage and to erase your cherished way of life in Louisiana,” said Trump.
However, Louisiana voters chose the Deep South’s only Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards.
President Trump’s stumping did help Rispone, but WAFB Political Analyst Jim Engster said it was not enough for him to close the gap.
“He provided a few more votes for Eddie Rispone but it’s not really enough to steer an election unless we’re talking a half a percent, and in this case, John Bel Edwards won by over two percent,” said Engster. “That’s a close race but it’s not razor-thin.”
Rispone took mostly all rural parishes across the state. Edwards, however, made up ground in the urban areas like East Baton Rouge Parish and Orleans.
"When those votes came in it was like a tidal wave for John Bell Edwards,” said Engster.
The votes in East Baton Rouge basically sealed the election for Edwards.
"John Bel Edwards won in Eddie Rispone’s home parish by 51,000 votes and he won overall by 40,000, so it’s easy to see if you take East Baton Rouge Parish out and Eddie Rispone is governor,” he said.
Engster said the biggest surprise of the night was not the results, rather, it was how many people showed up to the polls. More than half of all registered voters voiced their opinions on who should be the next governor.
“Eddie Rispone in defeat got 734,000 votes so that was about 88,000 more than John Bel Edwards received in victory four years ago,” said Engster, citing complete but unofficial results from Louisiana’s Secretary of State’s Office. “So it’s a good surprise that more people in Louisiana are engaged.”
Now the hard part comes for Edwards. He must find a way to accomplish his goals while working with a mostly new legislature that is heavily Republican.
"You’re going to see the governor have to do some heavy lifting to get things accomplished, but he does have the bully pulpit and he does have the satisfaction of getting more votes for governor than anybody in the last 28 years. So, a lot of people like John Bel Edwards and I’m sure lawmakers, being political animals, took note,” said Engster.