By Stephen Salopek


John Bel Edwards runoff


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On Saturday night it became official, there will be a runoff election for Governor between John Bel Edwards and David Vitter on Nov. 21. After polls closed Saturday and the votes were counted, Democratic candidate John Bel Edwards dominated with over 444,000 votes which was about 40 percent of the voter-turnout. Behind him with 256,000 votes (23 percent) was David Vitter, who was predicted a year ago to sweep the election.

Vitter’s major loss in numbers didn’t come directly from Edwards alone, who was actually predicted to get around 35 percent of the vote, but rather from the other two major Republican contenders: Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne. Angelle managed to gain about 20 percent, trailing Vitter by Only 42,000 votes, while Dardenne mustered a solid 15 percent of the vote according to The Advocate.

Many political analysts speculate that these voters, roughly 35 percent, will cast their runoff vote in favor of Vitter, giving him a solid lead over Edwards who, being the only major Democrat in the initial election, is not expected to gain much more ground. Many Republican voters, however, seem to have adopted the mindset that they will vote for anyone other than David Vitter, all political affiliations aside. Many share this sentiment because of the sex scandal Vitter was caught in back in 2007, where he was named as a customer by an infamous D.C. prostitution organization – an event that Vitter’s Republican competitors capitalized on during campaigning.

With the mudslinging that went on between the three Republican contenders, it’s hard to tell if either Dardenne or Angelle will throw their support in favor of Vitter. They could very well choose to hop the fence and back John Bel Edwards, who, although a Democrat, is known for being fiscally conservative and extremely bipartisan. If they do decide on this approach however, it may cause political troubles in the future for the two Republicans, especially for Democrat-turned-Republican Angelle, who has been rather successful at distancing himself from his former party.
Of the estimated 4.5 million people living in Louisiana, of which 76 percent are voting age, – according to quickfacts.census.gov – only 1,113,476 million people turned out to the voting booths, making it one of Louisiana’s lowest voter turnouts to date. It will be an interesting week to say the least, and hopefully on Nov. 21 more people will turn out for the runoff to have their voices heard.

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