President Trump, John Bel Edwards, Louisiana discussed on Here & Now
Point Zero rear its head again. That is Sean Mc fate who is a former army officer and former private military contractor author of the new rules of war. Sean thanks for joining us. Thank you very much Louisiana. Voters go to the polls this weekend to finally elect a governor. This is a runoff between the incumbent. Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican businessman Eddy responding the racist tight and president trump is watching closely. He was actually in the state on Thursday urging Louisiana voters to elect the Republican candidate trump also so linked to the ongoing impeachment inquiry to the state's election for more. We're joined by Paul Braun State Politics reporter for member station W. R. K. F. F. in Baton Rouge Paul. Thanks for joining us for having me so John Bel Edwards. He's been governor since two thousand sixteen and he's trying to hang onto his seat seat here. He is speaking in the gubernatorial debate. And I get along well with presidents of both parties. I've done that with President Obama and with President Trump nine times. I've met with the president to discuss things like infrastructure opioid epidemic and criminal justice reform. He's considered a prime gop target and he's also pretty moderate right. That's right he has to be in a state like Louisiana not just an election years but in office as well well so to get anything done he's got to do it with. Bipartisan support. A quick couple of examples. He passed a major criminal justice reform in his first term Any raise taxes axes with the budget shortfall which he gets hit pretty hard for on the campaign trail but he's quick to remind voters that two thirds of the Republican controlled legislature voted for that. He's stanchly progun on and back in. May He signed into law one of the strictest abortion restrictions in the country that would prohibit abortions as early as six weeks. There's a lot of money. Any pouring in from Republicans as well though The Republican National Committee has spent about two million dollars and deployed sixty. Paid staffers to try to unseat at words. Tell us more about the guy. They're pulling a four and putting all of their money behind his name's Eddie responding. He's never held political office. But it's also important to note there. Responding has loaned his campaign twelve million dollars of his own money and has been really sort what of bootstrapping his campaign with his own finances. Since the beginning yeah and responding has been making this race All about trump here are his first words from the debate eight. I think the thing that I see is almost supporter of trump and what trump has done for. Our country has been phenomenal. You know we have a Democratic Party. That's going after impeachment. which is a sidetracking everything we're trying to do? On a national level we know trump was therefore a second time yesterday for a rally what has been his impact on on this race. So far I think it'd be fair to say that from his perspective. Trump is the race His first introduction to voters was in a campaign ad out on the tailgate of his truck pointing into a trump bumper sticker. He has been kind of quiet on specific policies that he didn't act as governor so he's pretty much entirely linked his campaign to president trump and his popularity in the state. You know it's a lot of people say it's not fair really to say that. The governor's races are bellwethers of the president's support because they really are are so specific to each state Edwards has been a democratic governor and a very red state as you said but is this different though because the president. Let's put so much energy into this campaign. Do you think it's hard to say at Louisiana has been trending Republican for for a while now. Governor Edwards is the only only Democratic governor in the deep South but his two thousand fifteen election was based very largely on politics and the characters who were running and now with a lot of experience under his belt. Edwards is campaigning for a second term. And I think this would be a pretty good indicator of you know how far are partisan politics have seeped into Louisiana local politics if efforts were lose his bid for reelection. Yeah here's trump on one of his visits to the state last week and Monroe and soon the people of Louisiana will head to the polls. You know I'm really here for a little different reason. It's called surly voting. You believe it that much. I like Eddie. Tell us a little bit about early voting What what have we seen so far from turn out there? Early voting has has been a big focus for the Edwards campaign in particular since they had relatively poor showing in the primary in early voting. This go around thirty one percent of early voters in early voting runoff where African American. That's an increase from twenty five percent total from the first round of voting in October. That is a huge demographic for Edwards. And if he can do well there. His chances of winning reelection are quite good but Turnout is key going back to the start of our conversation. Given Edwards record as a moderate and the fact that Louisiana state legislature is dominated by Republicans. I'm just wondering if a change in leadership would make a real difference in the lives of Louisiana residents or is this race just important because it's become a national ideological battleground. It's an interesting question I mean I think people will are quick to look to states where Republican supermajority existed in the legislature. And the governor's office Even if Edwards wins the Republicans may gain crossed the threshold into having a super majority in the legislature. Which would be I for Louisiana and that could really take the teeth out of the governor's role which has traditionally been a pretty strong role in Louisiana politics? That's Paul Bron W. R. K. F. State Politics Reporter. Thank you again thanks so much..