BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) — The Deep South’s lone Democratic governor says keeping his office for the next four years means keeping the momentum from the past four.
“We must make sure that we keep Louisiana on the path we’re currently on,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told BRProud.com’s Harrison Golden in an interview.
Edwards, first elected in 2015, bills education as his highest priority in a second term.
“We got a good down payment on that this year,” he said, crediting a renewed sales tax for funding teacher pay raises and higher education. “But we have a lot more to do.”
Whether state lawmakers would work with Edwards in a second term remains unclear. The Legislature is poised for its heaviest turnover in more than a decade, which could prompt a rightward shift in the long-moderate state Senate.
“I feel like we will be able to have the same opportunity to work with the next Legislature, just as we have in this term,” the governor said. “I’m actually excited about the opportunity, because our state is better off today, by far, relative to where we were four years ago.”
Such talk of predecessor Bobby Jindal has filled Edwards’ reelection soundboard, leading GOP challengers to accuse the incumbent of partisanship.
“If you don’t go back and visit where we were four years ago, it’s impossible to appreciate where we are today,” Edwards told BRProud.com.
Where the Edwards team stands today is on sound fundraising ground. The governor raised more than $1.6 million between July and September, state ethics figures show; U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, a Republican, raised some $761,000 in that time; Republican businessman Eddie Rispone collected $147,000 from donors this summer, though the candidate has provided far more money through personal loans.
Three other candidates — Democrat Oscar “Omar” Dantzler, Republican Patrick “Live Wire” Landry and independent Gary Landrieu — are also seeking the governorship, though their poll numbers and campaign war chests trail those of Edwards, Abraham and Rispone.
“I can assure you that if my opponents are elected this time, they will take our state right back to where we were,” Edwards said. “Just listen to what they offer, what they’re prescribing for the state.”
BRProud.com will also feature one-on-one interviews with Abraham and Rispone this week, ahead of Thursday’s gubernatorial debate — sponsored by Nexstar Media Group.