POLITICS
11/21/2015 10:39 pm ET | Updated Dec 28, 2016

John Bel Edwards Wins Louisiana Gubernatorial Election

A runoff election took place after neither candidate earned 50 percent of the vote in October.

State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D) was elected the governor of Louisiana in a runoff election on Saturday, defeating U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R).

Edwards won 56 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. "I will not let you down," he said. "This election shows us that the people of Louisiana in a time of deep cynicism about our politics and also our future, have chosen hope over scorn... and over a distrust of others."

Vitter announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016, and joked that he had "reached my personal term limit" during his concession speech.

Edwards, currently the minority leader in the Louisiana House of Representatives, is a conservative Democrat who opposes abortion and supports gun rights. 

Vitter was once considered a clear favorite to win the governorship, but had a difficult race, with Republican challengers repeatedly bringing up the prostitution scandal that surfaced in 2007. In addition, a private investigator working for Vitter's campaign was arrested in October after allegedly recording a conversation between a local sheriff and his associates in a cafe.

Edwards led Vitter in polls approaching Saturday's runoff, according to HuffPost Pollster, which aggregates publicly available polling data.

In the Oct. 24 election, Edwards garnered 40 percent of the vote to Vitter's 23 percent. However, the race went to a runoff since neither candidate earned a majority. 

During the campaign, both Edwards and Vitter criticized Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who is suffering from dismal approval ratingsJindal suspended his presidential campaign on Tuesday.

In the days leading up to the election, the race focused on the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Louisiana, with Vitter releasing an advertisement linking Syrian refugees to the recent Paris attacks.

Edwards will be inaugurated on Jan. 11, 2016.

 

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