NEW ORLEANS, Democrat John Bel Edwards beat Republican Louisiana Sen. David Vitter in the race for the governorship, claiming victory in what turned into a lurid, somewhat nasty race toward the end.
With 95 percent of precincts reporting, the secretary of state’s office reported Edwards had 55 percent of the vote to Vitter’s 45 percent, though the election had been called for the Democrat earlier in the night as it became clear his lead would not be surpassed.
While Edwards was expected to win, some thought Vitter could stage a comeback after terror attacks in Paris raised fears in the United States. Vitter accused Edwards of working with President Barack Obamato force the state into accepting refugees from war-torn Syria.
Edwards started the race with an early lead, but he was not expected to win because Louisiana is traditionally Republican. The victory gives the Democratic Party its first governorship in the South since 2008, according to the National Journal. Vitter never led Edwards, the pro-gun, pro-life state representative, in the race.
Charlie Cook, a Washington, D.C., based political analyst tolad the new OrleansnTimes- Picayune that a Republican should have won “automatically. If Vitter’s name had never come up in the D.C Madam case, we would be looking at a 10 to 15 point win.”
The race was somewhat lurid as Edwards reminded Louisiana voters that Vitter’s name had come up on a list of clients during an investigation into a Washington, D.C., prostitution ring, reported Politico. Edwards said that while forgiveness is a Christian value, “there is no obligation to forget or to vote for people, and his error in judgment was so severe,” accusing him in campaign ads of choosing “prostitutes over patriots.”
By Stephen Feller