Louisiana Governor: Key Takeaways from the Primary Election

The recent race in Louisiana may not be a bellwether, but it’s more evidence of the growing geographic divide in the country. 

On Saturday, voters in Louisiana headed to the polls to vote in the primary election for governor. Louisiana has a “jungle primary” system, where all candidates regardless of party appear on the same ballot. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two candidates advance to a runoff election.

In this year’s primary, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards earned 47 percent of the vote, falling short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Republican businessman Eddie Rispone finished in second place with 27 percent, outpacing his chief Republican rival, Rep. Ralph Abraham, who finished in third place with 24 percent.

Edwards and Rispone will face off on Nov. 16 in the runoff.

The Urban/Rural Divide Continues
The big takeaway from Saturday’s results is that the urban/rural divide that expanded in the 2016 Presidential election is continuing for downballot elections.

In 2015, Edwards ran for his first term as governor. He won 40 percent of the vote in the primary and 56 percent of the vote in the runoff.

Comparing the 2015 primary to the 2019 primary, Edwards increased his vote share in 37 parishes (the state’s equivalent to counties) while losing vote share in the remaining 27 parishes. His vote share increased the most in Jefferson Parish, which includes suburbs outside New Orleans. Here, he received 34 percent of the vote in…

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