Donald Trump is planning another visit to Louisiana as Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards pulls ahead of Republican challenger Eddie Rispone in polls just weeks ahead of Election Day.
Trump already made one recent visit to Louisiana ahead of the November 16 runoff election for governor, and The Advocate reported that the president plans to return again in the hopes of flipping the race back to Rispone. A spokesperson for Trump said that the president plans to hold a rally in northeastern Louisiana next week, marking the first time that region of the state has seen a presidential visit since Ronald Reagan in 1983.
The rally comes as a series of polls this week showed Edwards on top in the back-and-forth race. A poll from Edgewater Research showed that Edwards led the race by a margin of 50.3 percent to 46.6 percent for Rispone. Another from JMC Analytics showed Edwards ahead but by a smaller margin, 48 percent to 46 percent.
Edwards tried to blunt the advantage that Trump’s visits might give Rispone, releasing a statement noting that he has had a good relationship with Trump while governor.
“It’s no surprise that when it’s time for politicking, the president is doing what’s expected of him and supporting a member of his political party. But when it comes time for governing, Gov. Edwards will continue the good working relationship he and President Trump have had,” Edwards campaign spokesman Eric Holl said. “Gov. Edwards has been to the White House nine times to visit with the president on issues important to Louisiana like infrastructure, criminal justice reform, and the opioid epidemic.”
Donald Trump has been active in helping Republican candidate in national and statewide races, to mixed results. His visits have helped give a boost to some candidates during the 2018 midterm elections, but overall his endorsements did not seem to tip a significant number of races. During the 2018 election cycle, he gave some level of endorsement to 91 candidates and held 44 campaign rallies, but his candidates had a success rate of just under 60 percent.
Polls for the 2019 Louisiana governor’s race have been a bit scattered at times, with Edwards leading by more than 20 points in some polls and Rispone ahead in others taken around the same time. The state’s spotty history of national polling — Louisiana is often ignored by major polling outlets for presidential elections, as it is a consistently red state — and the runoff election taking place just a few weeks after the “jungle style” primary is another complication.