By Joe Darby
I am truly grateful that the gubernatorial election is over.
I was very tired of the attack ads, which got rather nasty on both sides. One that I found particularly obnoxious was the one in which a senior citizen wearing a ball cap disparaged John Bel Edwards and said the governor’s polices “Make me sick!” That ad made me sick.
I never liked negative campaigning but that’s something we have to live with in America now. I’m not sure how much good they do, but they’re certainly here to stay.
What else can we say about the race, in which Edwards beat Eddie Rispone by 40,000 votes, 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent? First, you may remember that in the first primary the Natchitoches Parish vote closely mirrored the statewide percentage in the governor’s race. Well, in the runoff, the percentage was exactly the same. In our parish the vote was Edwards, 51.3 percent, Rispone, 48.7 percent. So I suppose you could say, as Natchitoches Parish goes, so goes Louisiana.
The race really was wide open and too close to call. I thought President Trump’s visits to Lake Charles, Monroe and Bossier City may have been enough to push Rispone over the top, but although Trump drew large crowds, his coat tails were not long enough to get Rispone elected. The President had made the race personal, asking Louisiana voters to elect Rispone for him, but it didn’t work.
What it boiled down to, was the Democrats did a good job of getting their base voters to the polls. Also, Rispone was overly vague on details of what he wanted to do for the state. I would have liked to know what his plans were, but he just never told us.
And finally, Edwards is not nearly the left wing liberal that Rispone tried to paint him. He’s pro life, pro guns and takes other positions that many conservative or moderate Louisianians can be comfortable with.
As we did after the first primary, let’s take detailed looks at how the race went in some key parishes. Rispone won all three parishes visited by Trump. In Calcasieu, he won 51.8 to 48.2, in Ouchita he won 54.5 to 45.5 and in Bossier, his margin was 66.2 to 33.8 .
But Edwards cleaned up in the four largest parishes, winning 89.8 to 10.2 percent in Orleans, 66.1 to 33.9 in East Baton Rouge, 58.3 to 51.7 in Caddo and 57 to 43 in Jefferson. I thought the Jefferson results were a little surprising because that parish usually goes for the more conservative candidate.
Just for you info, here’s how the race came out for our neighbors in Sabine and Winn parishes. Rispone won both easily, 65.6 to 34.4 in Winn and 78.9 to 21.1 in Sabine.
In Natchitoches Parish, John Richmond won the parish presidency by a fairly good margin, 58.1 to 41.8 percent, with the vote count being 6.952 to 5,009. I think many believed that race would be a little closer, particularly with the controversy over Richmond, as public works director, supposedly ordering materials without proper authorization. But the voters spoke and Richmond is our new parish executive. Here’s hoping he and the council can get along and get some things done.
Finally, if you don’t think every vote counts, take a look at the District 4 race for Parish Council. Out of 2,497 votes cast, Marty Cheatwood beat Justin Lester by nine votes! If five voters had changed their minds, Lester could have won by one vote. So, it is important that you get to the polls and make your voice heard!