After two terms of Bobby Jindal’s mismanagement of the state, Lousiana voters took out their frustrations on the GOP, by electing Democrat John Bel Edwards to serve as their next governor. Edwards squared off against Republican Senator David Vitter in the fight to replace Jindal, and voters showed absolutely no interest in putting another Republican in the governor’s mansion.
Governor Jindal, who recently dropped out of the Republican presidential race, will leave office as something of an embarrassment. His net approval rating ranked 2nd worst among the nations’ governors in a recent Morning Consult poll. Kansas’ Sam Brownback (R) was the only governor in the country who was more loathed by his constituents than Jindal.
John Bel Edwards consistently led Vitter in the polls leading up to Saturday, but Democrats were concerned that Vitter might still pull off a victory. Matt Bevin’s upset win in Kentucky earlier in the month gave Democrats reason to distrust the polls. In addition, many analysts felt that the Paris terrorist attacks and the ensuing controversy over settling Syrian refugees in Louisiana, might play in Vitter’s favor.
However, on Saturday reason triumphed over fear as voters decisively chose to back Edwards over Vitter. The Associated Press called the race for Edwards at 9:09 p.m. Central Time, with the Democrat holding a double digit 55-45 lead with over half the state’s precincts reporting.
Edwards’ decisive victory was a big win for Democrats in a Deep South state, and also a sign that Republican appeals to voter fears aren’t always successful even in red states. Vitter was a deeply flawed candidate who was unable to overcome both his own personal baggage and Bobby Jindal’s disastrous management of the state to carve out a path to victory. The “R” by his name was not enough to save him, especially since the GOP brand had been tarnished by Jindal.
Edwards’ victory will give Louisiana a chance to reverse eight years of damage done by Bobby Jindal. The voters have decisively voted to change course in Louisiana.