Nearly 21,000 people from Ouachita Parish participated in early voting for the Nov. 16 general election to be held Saturday, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Across the state, some 489,000 people voted early for the general election, state records show.

Elections on the Nov. 16 ballot include run-offs for governor, secretary of state, races for the state Senate and state House of Representatives, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury and Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court.

Statewide early voting results show that 152,346 blacks, or some 31 percent, participated in early voting. Some 60 percent of statewide voting results, or 322,804 people, were white. Political experts have opined that Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, needed a strong showing from blacks across the state to have a chance of securing re-election.

Meanwhile, Edwards’ challenger, Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone, who is a Republican, has recently enjoyed support from President Trump, who held a rally last week in Monroe and attended the LSU-Alabama football contest on Saturday.

Trump’s endorsement of Rispone’s campaign for governor could potentially draw more Republican voters to the polls, especially those who were upset that U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham did not make the run-off, according to political experts.

The only other statewide race on the ballot is for Secretary of State.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican, will face Gwen Collins-Greenup, a Democrat.

The Clerk of Court’s race is the only parish-wide election on the ballot. In the Clerk of Court’s race, Deputy Clerk Dana Benson, an independent, faces Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe.

During the primary, Benson gathered 36 percent of the vote while Walsworth collected 48 percent of the vote.

In the race for the state Senate’s 35th District, Sen. Jim Fannin, the incumbent, will face Rep. Jay Morris.

During the primary, Fannin, R-Jonesboro, received 39 percent of the vote. Morris, R-Monroe, recorded 36 percent of the vote. Another Republican, Matt Parker, ran third in the primary.

In the race for the 15th District of the House of Representatives, Foy Gadberry and Justin Tidwell are in the run-off. Gadberry received 38 percent of the vote in the primary election while Tidwell received 30 percent of the vote in a field including two other candidates.

In the race for the District F office of the Police Jury, Lonnie Hudson and Roland Edwards will meet in a run-off election.

Hudson gathered 27 percent of the vote while Edwards received 20 percent of the vote.

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