BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) — With only three gubernatorial races nationwide in 2019, perhaps the question was not whether President Trump would sound off on a Louisiana Democrat’s re-election bid — but when.
Tuesday night came the answer, as the president suggests either of the major Republicans running would do better than Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“I figured that, truthfully, [President Trump] was not going to get engaged until after the primary balloting was over,” political pollster John Couvillon told BRProud.com in an interview Wednesday.
But with recent polls showing Edwards near the 50 percent threshold to win outright Oct. 12, Couvillon suspects the tweeting president wants to stretch his Republican Party’s hopes through a Nov. 16 runoff. He argues the president’s move to call both Republican candidates Eddie Rispone and Rep. Ralph Abraham frees the White House to rally for either one, should a runoff come.
“Given that he has endorsed the Republican candidates, I do see it as a harbinger for his having a greater level of involvement once we have a runoff,” Couvillon said.
For now, President Trump’s dual endorsement seems to please the two Republicans.
“President Trump’s tweet confirms what we’ve known all along: John Bel Edwards has got to go,” Rispone said in a statement. “Louisiana needs a conservative, outsider, and businessman to move our state forward.”
“President Trump’s message to Louisianians tonight shows his commitment to defeating John Bel Edwards this November,” Abraham said in a statement. “I was one of the first members of Congress to endorse the President, and I’ve been proud to stand with him every step of the way. He is my friend and I am his ally.”
Meanwhile, the Edwards team says the remarks won’t sour ties between the White House and the man whom President Trump once reportedly called his “favorite Democrat.”
Edwards campaign spokesman Eric Holl released this statement shortly after the president posted the tweets:
“It’s no surprise that the President is voicing support for members of his own political party. Governor Edwards is focused on his own campaign. Voters know he has a long history of putting Louisiana first and putting people over party. He’s worked well with presidents of both parties, including President Trump. He’s visited nine times with President Trump, working with him on criminal justice reform, infrastructure and the opioid epidemic. Gov. Edwards looks forward to continuing his good working relationship with President Trump in the governor’s second term.”