A newly released poll of likely voters in Louisiana’s upcoming gubernatorial election found that Republican candidate Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) is surging into a near statistical tie with incumbent Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, a potential sign of serious problems for the Democrats in a deep-red state that President Donald Trump will visit next week.
The upcoming governor’s race in the fall in Louisiana marks one of the biggest regularly scheduled general elections between now and November 2020, when President Trump will face off against whomever the Democrats nominate from their growing field of presidential candidates, now totaling more than 20.
The poll of 650 likely voters by JMC Analytics conducted from April 25 to April 27, as well as on April 2, found that in a head-to-head matchup with Abraham, Edwards is languishing well below 50 percent–down at 40 percent–while Abraham is at 36 percent. The survey’s margin of error is 3.8 percent, so the four percent difference between the two candidates is essentially negligible. In the head-to-head matchup between Abraham and Edwards, there are 24 percent undecided.
Abraham’s campaign is thrilled to be this high in the polls thus far from the election. The election’s first round is in October, from which Abraham and Edwards are expected to head to a November runoff.
“The biggest takeaway from this poll is that Dr. Abraham is within the margin of error in a head-to-head match up with John Bel Edwards, despite having half the name recognition of the sitting Governor,” John Vick, Abraham’s campaign manager, said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “As people get to know Doc, they choose him over Governor Edwards’ tax hikes and big government liberal policies. This is tremendous news for our campaign and we’re excited to keep introducing Dr. Abraham to Louisianians across the state.”
Abraham advisers Lionel Rainey and Bill Skelly also, in a conference call with Breitbart News on Wednesday, explained why this demonstrates they are well-positioned to take out Edwards in November.
“Basically what people are seeing here in the numbers, and the reason why we are closing so rapidly is that it is the second people see Abraham and hear his message they are all in,” Rainey, Abraham’s general consultant, told Breitbart News. “They see John Bel as a reflection of national Democrat policies in America, and we have one of the worst economies in the nation, and then they see Ralph Abraham as a representation of Trump and Trump’s economic policies and he can turn this thing around just like Trump has done on a national level.”
“The incumbent governor is under 50 percent,” Skelly, a veteran of President Trump’s data effort in 2016, added. “That’s a big deal. Not just a little under 50 percent. He is well under 50 percent headed into this. He has not consolidated the Democrat base based on what I saw. He still has to consolidate his own base.”
Abraham’s closeness with Trump in style and policy is helping lead to the boom in polling, his team says.
“[Trump] continues to be in a strong position in Louisiana, and Republicans in general continue to be in a strong position in Louisiana,” Skelly added. “Six out of 10 voters aren’t choosing John Bel Edwards for re-election right now–they’re looking somewhere else. Louisiana is still a red state, and Ralph Abraham is the only candidate who’s going to offer them a choice if they want someone else other than Edwards.”
Rainey added that part of why Edwards is sinking in the polls while Abraham is rising is because of the leftist policies that Edwards has pushed as governor.
“We’re one of the nation’s leading suppliers of oil and gas,” Rainey said. “John Bel Edwards, who is a trial lawyer, has gone on an anti-oil and gas crusade since he’s been in office–so much so that he has instructed our coastal parishes–which are our counties–to sue the oil and gas industry and if they didn’t he would. Under this governor, we have the worst economy in America–and it’s because he’s raised the most taxes of any state. We got I think the second highest tax rate now. And what you got is Abraham coming out and very simply mimicking what the president says–‘you want to get this thing moving? We’re going to cut taxes and create jobs.'”
According to Forbes, Edwards raised state sales tax temporarily from 4 percent up to 5 percent, then permanently from 4 percent to 4.45 percent. According to the Washington Examiner, Edwards found a way to without the approval of the state legislature spend an additional $350 million in excess revenue rather than the returning the extra money back to the taxpayers. Overall, according to Watchdog.org, Edwards has raked in from taxpayers via tax hikes an additional $7 billion in the past few years. What’s more, during Edwards’ administration, in 2016 and 2017 according to state-by-state economic data in a report published by Governing magazine, the state of Louisiana was ground down to the slowest economic growth of any state in the union.
Also on Edwards’ watch, more people have left the state than jobs were created. In fact, in 2018, 10,000 people left Louisiana according to a report from December 2018 based on U.S. Census data, but according to a report in The Advocate–a Louisiana newspaper–the state only added 8,600 jobs in 2018.
It’s also on Edwards’ watch become the worst state in the union to raise a child, according to a 2017 report from nonprofit group Save The Children. Dueling 2018 reports put Louisiana in a bad spot when it comes to retirement as well: A 2018 report from Business Insider called it the fourth worst state to retire in, whereas Moneywise said in a 2018 report that Louisiana was the worst state in which to retire in the nation.
There are many more numbers like this, and the picture has gotten grimmer and grimmer under Edwards on basically every issue when it comes to the standard of living for people.
But while Edwards has targeted the local economy by going after oil and gas, and raising taxes in the state, Abraham has pushed a message of cutting taxes and getting the government out of industry’s way so the economy can thrive in Louisiana like it has nationally. In fact, at a recent event, Abraham ripped up a letter Edwards sent to Louisiana’s coastal parishes pushing them to take actions against oil and gas.
“You got a candidate in Abraham who’s got momentum and he has the guts to go out and do things to stand up. That’s why people are really attracted to him because he speaks really plainly, very succinctly, and clearly–and really does have guts,” Rainey said. “People here like a fight, and they like a fighter. That’s why they went so heavy for Trump. They see that sort of fighter in Ralph Abraham. A dude that will stand up and rip up a letter and throw it down at the governor’s feet–I can’t tell you how many views we got. People are just eating this up.”
WATCH TEH VDIEO OF ABRAHAM RIPPING UP BEL EDWARDS’ LETTER:
Trump is headed to Louisiana next week for infrastructure events, and the fact that Abraham is doing so well in the governor’s race already is probably going to be a boost for Trump going into 2020 assuming Abraham can seal the deal and finish off Edwards in the general election runoff in November. If Abraham does take the governor’s mansion from Edwards in Louisiana, too, it could be a sign of things to come for Trump in 2020 nationally as the president seeks re-election from the same type of voters who sent him to the White House in 2016–and are doing much better thanks to his economic policies.
“This is the pre-game to Trump’s re-election,” Rainey said.
“The ability for Democrats to claim a victory in a red state is a talking point that the mainstream media is going to eat up into January and February when everyone is going to want to cover the horse race in the Democrat presidential primary,” Skelly added. “We have the ability to stop that momentum dead in its tracks.”