Exclusive: Louisiana GOP Chair Says Eddie Rispone Will Defeat Democrat John Bel Edwards in Gubernatorial Runoff

In this Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. file photo, gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone arrives at the Louisiana Secretary of State's office to sign up to run in the upcoming election, in Baton Rouge, La. Advocates for a Louisiana constitutional convention are trying to make inroads for the movement, seeing opportunity with …
AP Photo/Michael DeMocker, File

Chairman Louis Gurvich of the Louisiana State Republican Party told Breitbart News Washington political editor Matt Boyle on Breitbart News Sunday, heard each week on Sirius XM’s Patriot Channel 125, that Republican Eddie Rispone will defeat incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards in the state’s November 16 gubernatorial runoff election.

In Saturday’s “jungle primary election” Edwards fell short of the 50 percent he needed to avoid a runoff, securing only 47 percent of all votes cast. Businessman Eddie Rispone finished in second place with 27 percent, qualifying to take on Edwards in a head-to-head battle in the runoff election. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) finished in third place with 23 percent of the vote.

“Eddie came from a poor working-class family in north Baton Rouge. He runs a very large contracting company. He’s done very, very well for himself. He’s just a wonderful, energetic person to be around. I think he’s right for Louisiana in so many ways that our current governor is not right,” Gurvich said of Rispone.

Gurvich was upbeat about Rispone’s prospects in the November 16 runoff.

“He’s going to win, and I think he’s going to win handily. We’re going to do very well in this race,” Gurvich declared.

The chairman noted that higher voter turnout drove across-the-board gains for Republicans in Louisiana on Saturday.

“We had a great night up and down the ballot; it wasn’t just in the governor’s race,” he told Boyle.

“We’re within range in both houses [in the state legislature] of obtaining a super majority, in the Senate and the House.  Turnout was 20 percent above the 2015 levels. We got 52 percent of the vote, which I think is extremely important,” Gurvich noted.

“The governor, the current Democrat governor, John Bel Edwards, lost vote share in 62 of the 64 parishes of Louisiana. We call our counties parishes here. They spent an enormous amount of money, about 15 million bucks, and couldn’t get above 47 percent, so this is huge for us,” the Louisiana Republican chairman told Boyle.

Boyle noted that Louisiana’s gubernatorial “jungle primary” on Saturday was the first election in the nation after Speaker Pelosi’s announcement of an impeachment inquiry.

“Things were trending John Bel Edwards’ way in the leadup to this. Then all of a sudden Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats … decided to move forward with this impeachment nonsense against President Trump,” Boyle said.

Boyle asked Gurvich if he thought this impeachment inquiry “backfired in a big way on John Bel Edwards.”

“The president and Donald Jr. and the vice president all came to Louisiana. They all have tremendous charisma and energy. His support was huge in this. It’s huge everywhere he goes,” Gurvich noted, adding that it is difficult “to try and distinguish the impeachment element from the president’s charisma and energy.”

“I kind of felt about a month ago we were trending in the wrong direction. Then, as you say, the impeachment thing hit the airwaves. Remember we had 20 percent more folks, a higher level of folks, who voted in this election than last time,” Gurvich noted.

“I think the impeachment had a lot to do with” the higher turnout and the outcome of Saturday’s election.

“The impeachment was important. It really was, and the way impeachment has been handled, undercover, behind closed doors, nobody owning up to anything, I think the people of Louisiana resented it, and it showed in this election, ” Gurvich added.

Boyle then noted that there are more big races for governor in two other states, Kentucky and Mississippi, before the November 16 runoff election in Louisiana. He asked Gurvich if the impeachment backlash evident in Louisiana is likely to carry into other states.

“I can intuit rather easily the way the folks in Mississippi, our next-door neighbors, are thinking about this race. … It’s not just impeachment itself; it’s the way it’s happening: subterfuge everywhere that’s just so underhanded. This is huge. It was huge in Louisiana. It’s going to be huge in Mississippi, and it probably will be a tremendously important factor in Kentucky,” Gurvich said.

Boyle then asked if the support of “radical lefty Democrats” like Stacey Abrams and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), both of whom came to Louisiana in September and backed Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, hurt him in the “jungle primary.”

“When you elect a governor, you’re electing his party. For the governor to say, ‘Oh, I’m a moderate Democrat,’ if such a thing still exists, which is a question in and of itself. But, then again, he’s a Hillary superdelegate,” Gurvich noted, adding that “he says he’s pro-life, but an enormous amount of his money comes from these entities that are pro-choice, the Green New Deal, and all those sorts of folks.”

“He had an Obama robocall for him, for God’s sake,” Gurvich noted.

“A victory for a Democrat governor in Louisiana is a victory that we can’t afford. … Democrats have repeatedly proven they’re not a right fit for the country, and John Bel Edwards isn’t a right fit for the state,” Gurvich concluded.

Listen to the full audio of the interview here:

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