John Bel Edwards was narrowly re-elected as governor of Louisiana. He's not a typical Democrat.
REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman/File Photo John Bel Edwards narrowly won re-election Saturday night by about 40,000 votes and became the first Democrat to do so as governor of Louisiana since 1975. Edwards defeated Eddie Rispone, an outsider candidate backed by President Donald Trump – the second Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate to lose in a red state in a month, after Kentucky's governor race. As a conservative Democrat, Edwards has been controversial among his more progressive base. He is pro-life and pro-guns, and signed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in 2019. The Louisiana gubernatorial race pitted a "common sense" moderate candidate against a Trump-adjacent wild card, and while the results were narrow, Edwards ultimately came out on top with a blended approach. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A tightly contested race for governor of Louisiana ended in John Bel Edwards' re-election late Saturday night, by about 40,000 votes. Edwards, a conservative Democrat, was challenged by an outsider backed by President Donald Trump. Not only is Edwards a unique politician who strays from the Democratic party platform, but the Louisiana gubernatorial race, preceded by Kentucky's earlier in November, suggests that Trump's endorsement isn't enough – even for Republican candidates in red states. Edwards is a unique Democratic candidate who first ran for governor in 2015 on a platform of "common sense and compassion." Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images Louisiana is a red state that Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016, but its statewide government is mixed. Edwards is the first Democratic governor to win re-election since 1975, and he is currently the only statewide elected Democrat. Part of Edwards' appeal stems from his more conservative leanings. On issues like abortion and gun ownership, he strays to the right of his Democratic peers. For example, in 2019, Edwards signed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in the country. Edwards has compared himself to Trump on gun control, saying that he doesn't support background checks on all gun purchases, but just commercial ones, according to Louisiana's The Advocate. He's had to prove to his more progressive base that he still fights for them, too. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images After signing the restrictive "fetal heartbeat" bill that would ban abortion once the fetus' heartbeat could be detected, Edwards faced backlash from his more progressive base. The controversial bill signage prompted him to release a statement pointing out that he has championed other progressive causes, like signing an executive order to protect LGBT people from harassment or job dismissals. Edwards also expanded Medicaid and worked to reduce the prison population in Louisiana, more traditional Democratic policies. But his balancing act, which included him promising to work with Trump and the Trump administration, has won him conservative support, too. Edwards' base even includes some Republicans. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images Louisiana has been plagued for years by budget deficits, and Edwards was more than willing to cross party lines to negotiate cuts. He appointed a Republican who was a former rival of his as commissioner of his administration. Edwards also believes in having a Republican voice in his major policy decisions, and his administration includes several senior officials who are Republicans, along with appointees left over from his Republican predecessors. "I think there are some in my party who believe that the current dysfunction in the Republican Party and the low approval ratings of our president means that we're going to automatically be successful going forward. I reject that idea," Edwards told Governing in January 2018. "It means that we have the opportunity to be successful. But we have to go out and seize the middle of the political spectrum. You don't get it by simply not being a Republican." See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:RANKED: The top 10 Kardashian family scandals that captured our attention this yearThe 26 most iconic royal fashion moments from the past decadeThe story behind North Korea's 1,080-foot 'Hotel of Doom,' an abandoned skyscraper that has never hosted a single guestSEE ALSO: While you weren't looking the trade war with China went completely off the rails DON'T MISS: The report that Boris Johnson is refusing to publish says it cannot rule out Russian interference in the Brexit referendum NEXT UP: Trump made an unscheduled trip to a hospital for what the White House says was part of his annual physical