Though Republican gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone carried Ouachita Parish with 54 percent of the vote in his bid to unseat Gov. John Bel Edwards in Saturday’s general election, it was Edwards who carried the day and became the first Democratic governor elected to serve two consecutive terms since Edwin Edwards did it in the 1970s.
Edwards outdistanced Rispone statewide by only 40,000 votes, but it was enough for Edwards to capture 51 percent of the vote, or roughly 774,000 votes. Rispone secured 49 percent of the vote, or some 734,000 votes, according to unofficial returns from the Secretary of State’s office.
Rispone, a wealthy Baton Rouge businessman who poured more than $11 million of his own money into his campaign, locked up 27,531 votes in Ouachita Parish. Edwards received 22,994 votes, or 46 percent of the vote.
President Donald Trump headlined two campaign rallies for Rispone in the month between the Oct. 12 primary election and the Nov. 16 general election. At each rally — one in Monroe and one in Bossier City —5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham, who ran third in the primary in October, stood with Trump to support Rispone in spite of the negative campaigning Rispone waged against Abraham to earn a spot in the runoff with Edwards.
In the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court’s race, deputy clerk Dana Benson overcame state Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe.
Benson, an independent, received 24,918 votes, or 51 percent of the vote, while Walsworth received 23,963 votes, or 49 percent of the vote.
Walsworth was term-limited and could seek re-election to the Senate.
Benson expressed thanks to Jesus as well as each person who cast a vote in the Clerk of Court’s election, whether they voted for her or not.
“I also sincerely appreciate each and every member of my family, as well as those members of the community who helped with my campaign,” Benson said. “From those who just mentioned my name, who passed out flyers, who knocked on doors, who put down signs or who stood at the corners waiving with us, your time was appreciated more than you will ever know, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. “
Benson pledged to serve with dignity, professionalism and compassion.
In area legislative races, West Monroe businessman Foy Gadberry and state Rep. Jay Morris came out on top in their respective run-off elections.
In the Senate District 35 race, Morris defeated Sen. Jim Fannin, the incumbent, by 273 votes. Each candidate is a Republican.
Fannin received 17,894 votes while Morris collected 18,167 votes.
“We’re very pleased with the results,” said Morris, R-Monroe. “It was a tough fight. We just want to thank all voters in Senate District 35.”
In the District 15 race of state House of Representatives, Gadberry tallied some 8,100 votes while Justin Tidwell, also of West Monroe, received some 7,100 votes. Each candidate is a Republican.
“I’m elated,” said Gadberry. “I want to thank my supporters and volunteers for supporting and helping me. I want to commend the other candidates for running a good campaign.”
Restoring water to Cheniere Lake and stabilizing the lake’s infrastructure are a top priority once he was sworn in, according to Gadberry.
“I’m looking at restoring Cheniere Lake, bringing more infrastructure dollars to northeastern Louisiana, lowering our taxes and stabilizing higher education,” he said.
In the Ouachita Parish Police Jury race for District F, Lonnie Hudson defeated Roland Edwards with 52 percent of the vote, or some 3,600 votes. Edwards tallied some 3,300 votes. Each candidate is a Democrat.
Hudson commended the other candidates in the District F race for their strong campaigns.
“I want to thank the constituents of District F,” Hudson said. “It will be a great honor to serve this community in this capacity. We want to come together with like minds and bring ideas to the table, like community development, where we are working together, hand in hand. We want to focus on infrastructure, especially water.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican, secured re-election to a full term with 59 percent of the vote, or some 867,000 votes. His challenger, Gwen Collins-Greenup, a Democrat, reached 41 percent of the vote, or some 601,000 votes.
In Ouachita Parish, Ardoin received 30,611 votes, or 62 percent. Collins-Greenup captured 18,667 votes, or 38 percent.