Louisianans head to polls to elect governor

Oct. 12 (UPI) — Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards vied for re-election against two Republicans — Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone — as voters headed to the polls Saturday.

Edwards is the only Democratic candidate involved in Saturday’s election.

Louisiana holds what’s called a jungle primary, meaning all candidates run against each other, regardless of party affiliation. If Edwards secures more than 50 percent of the vote, he wins the election outright. If not, he’ll face one of the Republican candidates in a runoff election Nov. 16.

Louisiana leans Republican, but 2019 polling shows Edwards in the lead over Republican candidates.

An October poll shows Edwards with 48 percent support compared to Rispone’s 25 percent and Abraham’s 23 percent, leaving about 4 percent who said they would support someone else.

The race could be tight if gets to a runoff and Republicans unify their vote.

President Donald Trump told voters not to vote for Edwards at a rally Friday in Louisiana, and he may end up endorsing the lead Republican candidate if it gets to a runoff.

Trump won Louisiana by 20 points in 2016.

Edwards won the office four years ago against Republican candidate David Vitter, who was embroiled in a prostitution scandal at the time.

Edwards has a conservative, pro-life and pro-guns stance, which appealed to Republicans or Independents who lean conservative, Michael Henderson, a Louisiana State University professor, told The Advocate.

However, his conservative stance could hurt his Democratic vote. Earlier this year, Edwards signed a bill tightening restrictions on abortion, upsetting pro-choice Democrats, especially women.