Jim Brown examines the "Trump effect in Louisiana"
By: Jim Brown
In the first primary governor’s race here in the Bayou State, incumbent John Bel Edwards looked to be on the verge of a first primary victory. Then at the last minute, the President blew into the state. It made a huge difference, and now Edwards is in the political fight of his life being challenged by political newcomer and Trump ally Eddie Rispone.
On paper, Rispone looked to be a minor candidate in the race, having few qualifications other than being a successful contractor and a major republican contributor. But the “new kid on the block” poured some 11 million dollars of his personal wealth into the campaign and ran his whole first primary attacking Edwards and wrapping himself around Donald Trump. So much for addressing any major issues affecting the state’s future.
Edwards could only garner 46% of the first primary vote. The Governor took a real shellacking in rural parishes throughout the state. Ands black turnout, traditionally a strong democratic vote, was a dismal 36%. Many insiders felt the democratic establishment dropped the ball in a weak effort to get out the traditional party vote. There were plenty of ballots floating around for Edwards, but the usual concentrated effort of canvasing and election day coordination was frail at best in many African American communities and non-existent in others.
The current runoff race is pegged a dead heat. The winner will be determined by who can best energize their respective voters. Edwards has his work cut out since his turnout was lower than expected in the first primary. And then there is the big elephant in the room. Donald Trump. Rispone is counting on the President to hold at least one major rally in the state, and possibly more.
Although Trump’s current favorability is down from a high of 65% in the spring, he still is strongly supported by a majority of the state’s voters. So the Edwards team has to figure out a way to attack Rispone’s record without alienating Trump supporters. He has a big challenge in the few shorts weeks until election day November 16th. But Edwards is the incumbent, and he won an uphill race as a democrat in a republican state just four years ago. Get ready for a knockdown, drag out campaign in the next two weeks.
This will be my last column for the year. I have written my opinionated views since 2003. It’s hard to believe I have not missed a week in the past sixteen years. I have enjoyed hearing from so many readers and I’m glad to have been a small part of our current political debate.
But I’m approaching 80 years old, and I have grandkids that need my attention and some traveling to do. I hope to get back in touch through my weekly column after the first of the year.
In the meantime, I’ll be traveling the state and promoting my new book, My Louisiana Odyssey, a memoir about my love affair with the Bayou State. This is my 5th book, and I’ve tried to write a compelling, informative and humorous adventure of what it’s like to “discover” the most interesting state in America.
I have candidly tried to describe my personal relationship with a number of the state’s governors, as well as tales of meeting different presidents. My banjo playing got me through law school and led to a brief acting career. And my cookbook led to friendships with a number of the state’s top celebrity chefs, while Blue Dog artist George Rodrigue encouraged me to paint. I also write about my run-in with the Ku Klux Klan. And should one want revenge? You will find my opinion in this book. You can find all about it and order it a www.jimbrownla.com.
I look forward to continuing visits after the first of the year.
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9:00 am till 11:00 am Central Time on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.