Governor’s race may attract national spotlight

Published 9:44 pm Friday, October 30, 2015

The old joke is that “dog bites man” isn’t news, but “man bites dog” is. We are always captivated when something happens that is unexpected, or the exact opposite of what we’d expect.

Louisiana electing a Democratic governor would certainly fall under the “man bites dog” category.

After all, this is one of the reddest of red states in the whole nation. And yet, Amite State Rep. John Bel Edwards, the Democratic candidate for governor, is seen as having more than a puncher’s chance against U.S. Sen. David Vitter, the Republican candidate.

Edwards is certainly not your stereotypical Democratic candidate. He is a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger who describes himself as pro-life and pro-gun rights. However, he does have more “liberal” positions as well, including being in favor of raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid and rejecting school choice vouchers.

Even so, Louisiana Republican voters angered by the administration of Bobby Jindal, and wary of Vitter’s scandal-marred history might consider “jumping sides” to vote for the Democrat.

When I lived in Alabama in 2008, a similar race took place in the U.S. House of Representatives, District 2. Montgomery mayor Bobby Bright, the Democratic candidate, squeaked by Republican Jay Love to become the first Democratic representative from that district since 1963. Like Vitter, Love was seen as a flawed candidate; and like Edwards, Bright had several policy stances that appealed to conservative voters.

However, Bright had one advantage that Edwards does not have. His election came in a presidential voting cycle, so voter turnout and interest was higher. Two years later, in a non-presidential voting cycle, Bright lost his re-election bid and control of the seat returned to the Republicans.

I expect that the national political spotlight will be turned on our state this month, as pundits across the country watch to see if Edwards might have enough to “bite” Vitter and pull off the upset.

Justin Schuver is the publisher of The Daily News. You can email him at