WRKF

Paul Braun

Capitol Reporter

Paul Braun is WRKF's reporter for Capitol Access, our series of reporting on state politics, government, and the people shaping Louisiana's state policy.

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Wallis Watkins / WRKF

On any given day there are an estimated 12,000 people in Louisiana being held in parish jails awaiting trial. For the most part, these are people who haven't been convicted of a crime-- meaning they retain the right to vote.

But while they may be eligible to vote by law, the harsh realities of life behind bars amount to 'practical disenfranchisement.'

Wallis Watkins, WRKF/Aurianna Cordero, LSU Reveille

The Louisiana governor's race is too close to call as it enters its final week. National political analysts have described the race as a toss-up and local polling shows incumbent John Bel Edwards and GOP challenger Eddie Rispone neck-and-neck as they make their final pitches to voters.

On this week's Capitol Access, Stephanie Grace, columnist for The New Orleans Advocate joins the program to discuss the race.

Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

More than 89,000 Louisianans cast their ballots on Saturday in the first day of early voting in the gubernatorial runoff, setting a new record for first day turnout.

GOP challenger Eddie Ripsone is vying to unseat Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards, who is seeking a second term as governor of Louisiana.

Preliminary reports from the Secretary of State show that about 2,500 more votes were cast on Saturday than the first day of early voting in the 2016 presidential election-- the previous high-water mark-- and surpassing the first day turnout in last month's primary by more than 12,000 votes.

On this week's Capitol Access, pollster John Couvillon of JMC Analytics and Polling discusses the demographic breakdown of early voters and how it might impact the eventual results of the election.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting

Five weeks separate the gubernatorial primary and runoff in the race for Louisiana governor and this week marks the halfway point. Primary voters whittled down the field to two candidates—Republican businessman Eddie Rispone and the incumbent, Democrat John Bel Edwards.

The top-three candidates met in televised debates three times ahead of the primary and a few more times in candidate forums around the state. But that hasn't been the case in the runoff.

On Wednesday, Edwards and Rispone will meet face-to-face in the first, and likely only, debate before voters head to the polls November 16th.

Pearson Cross, political science professor and the Associate Dean of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette College of Liberal Arts, previews the showdown.

Republican Party of Louisiana

After months of campaigning as a political outsider and self-financing his bid to become Louisiana’s governor to the tune of $11 million, Eddie Rispone is now welcoming the endorsement and support of the Louisiana Republican Party.

Throughout the primary contest, GOP leaders had been wary of returning to the partisan in-fighting that cleared the way for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ long-shot victory 2015.

They took a wait-and-see approach, confident that one of their candidates would earn a spot in a runoff against Edwards.

WRKF

Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, and Republican businessman Eddie Rispone are headed to a November 16 runoff.

Edwards earned 47 percent of the votes cast in the primary-- 20 percentage points higher than Rispone. But when you factor in the votes cast for Abraham, the top two Republicans combined for 51 percent of the vote, signaling a tough road ahead for Edwards.

Here to talk about the results and what happens next is Robert Hogan, chairman of Louisiana State University's political science department.

Aurianna Cordero / LSU Reveille

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will face Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in a November 16 runoff election after Saturday's gubernatorial primary.

Democrat John Bel Edwards was the leading vote getter, winning 47% of the total cast. But the incumbent fell short of the 50% threshold to win the election outright.

That means Edwards will square off against Rispone, who came in second place and edged out Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham.

Paul Braun / WRKF

Controversies in national politics have simmered on the back-burner in the Louisiana Governor's race for months. However, over the weekend President Donald Trump and his allies turned up the heat, announcing a flurry of campaign events in the state in the last days before the October 12 primary.

Vice President Mike Pence appeared at a "Unity Rally" for U.S. Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone, the top-two GOP challengers in the race. Donald Trump Jr. headlined a similar event in Lafayette on Monday, and President Donald Trump will hold a rally on Friday.

On this week's Capitol Access, Stephanie Grace, columnist for The New Orleans Advocate/Times-Picayune discusses how that could affect the Gov. John Bel Edwards reelection bid.

Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

77,000 Louisianans made their way to the polls on Saturday, the first day of early voting in the October 12 election. That's the second highest first-day turnout for early voting ever and more than double the turnout on the same day in the last governor's race.

On this week's Capitol Access, pollster John Couvillon of JMC Analytics and Polling discusses how early voting is shaping elections across the state.

Last night’s gubernatorial debate at the University of Louisiana- Lafayette saw the candidates stake out distinct policy positions and double down on their attacks just two days before early voting starts in the October 12th primary.

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