Report from Louisiana: Spinning the 2019 Gubernatorial Race

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – The spin machines for the 2019 Louisiana governor’s race is hard at work.

Already in the ring on the Republican side are Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone, and a couple of weeks ago, to no one’s surprise, Governor John Bel Edwards has announced his re-election bid.

Local political pundit Jeff Sadow sums up Governor Edwards’s tenure this way:

Having governed as a liberal in a red state, the Louisiana Democrat faces a choppy path in October to another four years. Even when watered down by a Republican-led Legislature, his policies over the past three years have produced tax hikes and 40 percent higher state spending. Louisiana has one of the worst economies in the country with almost no net new jobs created.

In his own announcement, Edwards says:

Under Gov. Edwards’ leadership, Louisiana has:

•    Passed a bipartisan budget compromise that took us from record deficits to surpluses and stable funding for our critical priorities.

•    Secured more than 100 major economic development projects, nearly 30,000 new jobs, and $30.7 billion worth of capital investments.

•    Had 15 straight months of year-over-year job growth, with an economy that’s larger than ever before.

•    Expanded Medicaid to 480,000 working Louisianans, cutting the uninsured rate in half, keeping rural hospitals open, and saving lives.  

    Brought together law enforcement, the faith community, Republicans and Democrats to pass a package of bipartisan criminal justice reform laws used as a model by President Trump.

It really is all about the spin, isn’t it?

Neither Rispone nor Abraham have much name recognition; Rispone is more hard-core conservative while Abraham is more of an establishment Republican.  Currently there are no big, recognizable names stepping up to challenge Edwards, but with qualifying open until August that could change, although most think it unlikely.

Edwards is fairly popular and one poll has him with a 49% approval rating although that poll was heavily slanted to Democrats (67%).

If you are not an Edwards fan, the outlook is grim, but at least the spinning will be fun.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.