Governor John Bel Edwards confident he'll win runoff, political analysts more cautious
BATON ROUGE - Governor John Bel Edwards' campaign released new information Monday from polling that they've been doing that show the incumbent governor easily sailing to victory in the runoff against Baton Rouge Businessman Eddie Rispone on Nov. 16.
However, those who are watching the election said there are plenty of factors at play here, and the road to victory may not be so easy.
"If he has to run this without Washington as with Mary Landrieu, remember they gave up on her, packed their bags and went back," Pollster Bernie Pinsonat said. "If that happens to John Bel Edwards, remember he had an abortion vote that upset democrats in Washington, so are they going to flood into the state and save a democrat? Without their help it will be insurmountable."
Edwards has touted his successes over the past four years as governor as a reason why he should be re-elected.
"We turned a two billion-dollar deficit into a surplus," Edwards said on election night. "I can say 450,000 have health insurance through Medicaid expansion. I'm happy to remind you we gave teachers their first pay raise."
Those watching the election said with the climate in our state, beating Washington D.C. forces may not be easy.
"He ran on this, 'I inherited a budget deficit,'" Radio host Moon Griffon said. "He voted on six of eight of Bobby Jindal's budgets. That's not an inheritance. Inheritance is when my aunt died, I got $25,000. My truck note and a house note I signed for it. He voted for six of the eight budgets. If there was a budget deficit, he voted for it. What happens is he's been putting stuff out there and people are starting to see it. Can he win? Absolutely. Anything can happen in five weeks."
Rispone believes a vote for him instead of a career politician will move the state forward. Rispone spent Monday working the phones and fundraising. As money pours in from out of state, funding should not be a problem for him.
Throughout the election, the Edwards campaign has claimed Rispone is "phony." They say he's hired foreign workers instead of people in Louisiana. Rispone claims he won't change Medicaid expansion, but Edwards said there's no certainty on that which could leave thousands without health insurance.
"You hit the reset button," LSU Professor Bob Mann said. "You're only running against one republican in the state but are running against the entire establishment in the state. A majority of people voted against you."