NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards toured a major tech company that expanded its operations to New Orleans earlier this year, during a campaign stop in the city Monday (Jan. 28).
Edwards, who is seeking a second term as governor, has been highlighting economic development gains since he took office in 2016.
“The people of our state know that we’re better off today than we were three years ago,” Edwards said after he toured DXC Technology and briefly talked with workers. “We’ve replaced a record deficit with surpluses, we just gave a $600 million tax cut from last year to this year. We’re adequately funding our critical priorities, and we’re attracting investment and job creation all across the state of Louisiana, so that’s the key.”
Two Republicans — Congressman Ralph Abraham of Alto and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone — previously announced they would run against the Democratic governor.
Politically, Louisiana is a deep-red state, but Edwards won his first term as governor against an unpopular Republican candidate.
Mike Sherman, FOX 8 political analyst said Edwards should focus his campaign on two main areas.
“So for the governor to win reelection, there’s two secrets,” Sherman said. “Get a solid Democratic turnout, and then get a message that gets just under a hundred thousand Trump voters to vote for John Bel Edwards.”
Abraham issued the following statement after Gov. Edwards spoke to reporters about the race at DXC Technology:
“John Bel wants voters to forget that he shares the same big government philosophy as his fellow Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders. Taxes and state spending are higher today than when he took office, and all we have to show for his liberal policies are a stalled economy and thousands of people scrambling to leave Louisiana.”
But political analyst Robert Collins of Dillard University said he does not think tying Edwards to Democrats in Congress will net much among Louisiana voters.
“He’s a governor, he only affects the issues within this state, so I don’t really think that’s going to work,” Collins said.
Collins said Edwards does not have the “negatives” that some other Democrats had while seeking statewide office in Louisiana.
“He’s very strongly pro-life, he’s also pro-Second Amendment, he’s a hunter, he comes from a law enforcement family,” Collins said.
New Orleans is a Democratic stronghold and friendly territory for the governor. Still, Edwards believes he can also convince voters in more conservative parts of the state that he deserves to keep his job.
“He’s trying to solidify his Democratic base in the Greater New Orleans metropolitan area first,” Collins said. “He also knows he’s going to have to cover the rural areas of the state, as well.”
Sherman said the biggest challenge will be winning over Republican voters.
“For the governor, he has a strong approval rating, a strong campaign war chest. What he needs to find a way to do is to get Republicans, or people who vote for Republicans to pull the lever for a Democrat,” Sherman said.
Some political pundits believe a Republican with better name recognition could jump into the race.
“We’ll just see, but to me this race isn’t about who runs against me, it’s about the job we’ve been able to do for the state of Louisiana,” Edwards said.