Louisiana governor race: Democrat John Bel Edwards defeats Republican Eddie Rispone to win 2nd term

Louisiana governor race: Democrat John Bel Edwards defeats Republican Eddie Rispone

BATON ROUGE, La. — Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has defeated Republican challenger Eddie Rispone to win a second term, multiple news outlets are reporting.

According to The New York Times and The Associated Press, Edwards, who is considered moderate, received 51% of votes to Rispone's 49% in Saturday's runoff election. They were separated by a margin of about 40,000 votes, officials said.

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In his victory speech Saturday night, Edwards said he spoke to Rispone, a businessman, and thanked him for "putting himself out there for public service."

"We both agreed that the time for campaigning is over, and now, our shared love for Louisiana is always more important than the partisan differences that sometimes divide us," Edwards said.

After a brief pause, he continued: "And as for the president, God bless his heart."

Edwards was referring to President Donald Trump's support for Rispone, who had appeared with the president at a rally just two days earlier.

Rispone acknowledged Trump's efforts in his concession speech.

"Can we give President Trump a round of applause?" Rispone asked supporters, who cheered. "That man loves America, and he loves Louisiana."

Before the polls closed Saturday evening, Trump urged Louisiana voters to back Rispone in a tweet.

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– The Associated Press contributed to this report.