Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards is projected to win a second term as Louisiana governor after early AP polling results show him narrowly defeating Republican opponent, businessman Eddie Rispone.
Edwards was up by over 19,300 votes with 96 percent, or 1.45 million, of all votes counted on Saturday night, according to AP.
Louisiana was the third and final state to vote on its governor after Edwards missed winning re-election in the October primary, triggering a run-off. Edwards had won 47 percent of the primary vote, followed by Rispone on 27 percent, and fellow Republican Ralph Abraham in 24 percent.
A West Point graduate, Edwards campaigned to voters as a Louisiana Democrat with political views that sometimes dont match his partys leaders.
“They talk about Im some sort of a radical liberal. The people of Louisiana know better than that. I am squarely in the middle of the political spectrum,” Edwards said. “That hasnt changed, and thats the way weve been governing.”
He was elected to the Louisiana House in 2011 and first won the governors in 2015, defeating former Senator and Republican David Vitter by a 55 to 44 percent margin.
The defeat was due in part to Vitters 2007 prostitution scandal, in which a prostitute in Washington D.C. identified him as a client. It was also reported that he had had fraught relationships with several Republicans in the state. The vote subsequently went down as one of the biggest political upsets in history.
Once in office, Edwards demonstrated his opposition to gun restrictions, signed one of the nations strictest abortion bans, and has recently dismissed the impeachment effort as a distraction.
Rispone, a 70-year-old owner of a Baton Rouge industrial contracting company, had little name recognition before introducing himself as a candidate in adverts declaring his support for President Donald Trump.