Other members of the Trump family are also taking an active interest in the Louisiana Governor’s race. Today, on the Ringside Politics radio show both Lara Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. called in as guests. Here is a link to their interviews, in which both of them strongly encouraged listeners to vote for Eddie Rispone on Saturday.
While the President visits Louisiana again, the Republican National Committee is spending another $1 million in the state to boost get-out-the-vote efforts for Rispone. After losing a close Governor’s race in Kentucky, Republicans are trying to avoid another loss in a deep red state that supported President Trump overwhelmingly in 2016.
In the closing days of the race, the latest polls show Edwards with a slight 48-46% lead over Rispone with 6% of voters still undecided. In the campaign, Edwards has effectively used his position as governor to award grant money to selected groups of voters. He also has received positive statewide media coverage from journalists who tend to be liberal.
After a disappointing African American turnout in the primary election, the Governor’s campaign has invested heavily to boost this base of voters in the runoff. African Americans comprise the most loyal group of Democratic Party voters. In the primary election, only 25% of the overall voters were African American. This helped force Edwards into a run-off election against Rispone.
In the run-off, the totals from early voting are in and the numbers are looking very good for the Governor. Among those voting early, 31% were African Americans, which is a significant increase from the smaller turnout in the primary election.
It seems that one of the main reasons for the increase was the hard-hitting race baiting appeal made on African American radio stations. In one spot, New Orleans Councilman Jay Banks urges voters to support Governor Edwards because Eddie Rispone and President Donald Trump are racists just like former KKK leader and Louisiana State Representative David Duke. He claims that they “do not care” about African Americans.
The unfounded racial attacked was not based on reality. Neither Rispone nor Trump have ever embraced Duke’s racist platform. In fact, President Trump has condemned Duke on multiple occasions.
In contrast to the radio commercial, Duke is now supporting Democrat Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for President. Duke is no longer active in Louisiana politics and has no official role in the Republican Party. Nevertheless, he is a convenient target for racist attacks. In this case, it seems Edwards has benefitted, and the African American turnout is significantly higher.
If Edwards win another four years as Governor, his victory may be based on a blatant lie, not a very good way to start a second term leading the state of Louisiana.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]