Louisiana is the last of three states to hold its gubernatorial election this year and the stakes are significant: This race could ultimately determine whether the lone Democrat in the Deep South is able to hang onto his seat.
The contest is also an increasingly close one. Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards faces a serious challenge from Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who’s attempted to tie himself tightly with Trump during the campaign. In the week ahead of the election, polling had the two candidates nearly tied, and Cook Political Report has classified the race as a “toss-up.”
Louisiana is a state in the Deep South region of the South Central United States. It is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by the state of Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U.S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are equivalent to counties. The state’s capital is Baton Rouge, and its largest city is New Orleans.
Much of the state’s lands were formed from sediment washed down the Mississippi River, leaving enormous deltas and vast areas of coastal marsh and swamp. These contain a rich southern biota; typical examples include birds such as ibis and egrets. There are also many species of tree frogs, and fish such as sturgeon and paddlefish. In more elevated areas, fire is a natural process in the landscape, and has produced extensive areas of longleaf pine forest and wet savannas. These support an exceptionally large number of plant species, including many species of terrestrial orchids and carnivorous plants. Louisiana has more Native American tribes than any other southern state, including four that are federally recognized, ten that are state recognized, and four that have not received recognition.Some Louisiana urban environments have a multicultural, multilingual heritage, being so strongly influenced by a mixture of 18th-century French, Haitian, Spanish, Native American, and African cultures that they are considered to be exceptional in the US. Before the American purchase of the territory in 1803, the present-day State of Louisiana had been both a French colony and for a brief period a Spanish one. In addition, colonists imported numerous African people as slaves in the 18th century. Many came from peoples of the same region of West Africa, thus concentrating their culture. In the post-Civil War environment, Anglo-Americans increased the pressure for Anglicization, and in 1921, English was for a time made the sole language of instruction in Louisiana schools before a policy of multilingualism was revived in 1974. There has never been an official language in Louisiana, and the state constitution enumerates “the right of the people to preserve, foster, and promote their respective historic, linguistic, and cultural origins.”Like other states in the Deep South region, Louisiana frequently ranks low in terms of health, education, and development, and high in measures of poverty. In 2018, Louisiana was ranked as the least healthy state in the country, with high levels of drug-related deaths and excessive alcohol consumption, while it has had the highest homicide rate in the United States since the 1990s.
Louisiana governor election: live results
A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, governor may be the title of a politician who governs a constituent state and may be either appointed or elected. The power of the individual governor can vary dramatically between political systems, with some governors having only nominal or largely ceremonial power, while others having a complete control over the entire government.
Historically, the title can also apply to the executive officials acting as representatives of a chartered company which has been granted exercise of sovereignty in a colonial area, such as the British East India Company or the Dutch East India Company. These companies operate as a major state within a state with its own armed forces.
There can also be non-political governors: high-ranking officials in private or similar governance such as commercial and non-profit management, styled governor(s), who simply govern an institution, such as a corporation or a bank. For example, in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, there are prison governors (“wardens” in the United States), school governors and bank governors.
The adjective pertaining to a governor is gubernatorial, from the Latin root gubernare. The historical female form is governess, though female officials are referred to by the gender-neutral form governor (without the gender specific suffix) of the noun to avoid confusion with other meanings of the term.
Edwards is a rare Democrat currently holding a statewide position in Louisiana, a role he first won after upsetting former US Sen. David Vitter in 2015. He’s since cast himself as a conservative Democrat, signing one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the nation, while highlighting his efforts to establish a budget surplus and expand Medicaid.
Rispone, meanwhile, has sought to nationalize the race and frame Edwards as just another liberal. As a successful businessman and longtime conservative donor, he’s argued that he’d be best positioned to advance Republican priorities in a state that went for Trump by 20 points in 2016.
Louisiana governor election: live results
Louisiana saw near-record levels of early voting in the weeks before Election Day; polls on the day of close at 8 pm CT. Live results, provided in partnership with Decision Desk, are below:
This particular race offers a litmus test for a couple of different things: It could indicate how much influence Trump’s endorsement still has in competitive races, and it could show whether or not Democrats are able to maintain a foothold in the Deep South. If Edwards wins reelection, it will be the second marquee race in a heavily Republican state where Trump’s candidate has faltered in recent weeks (Kentucky’s gubernatorial election was the first).
Given states’ upcoming redistricting plans following the 2020 Census and Republicans’ growing dominance of the Louisiana state legislature, Democratic gubernatorial control will be central to providing any kind of check on the GOP’s approaches to policy. Saturday’s election will determine if the party can keep it.