President Donald Trump called on voters in northern Louisiana to vote for Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone in the Nov. 16 gubernatorial election to replace the “radical, liberal Democrat” Gov. John Bel Edwards campaigning for re-election.
“You're going to have a great new Republican, tremendously successful Eddie Rispone,” Trump said. “How did you get a liberal Democrat to be your governor?”
Trump made those remarks Wednesday at the Monroe Civic Center arena during a Keep America Great! rally. More than 7,000 people were gathered inside the arena while many more watched the rally on large screens outside the arena.
Early voting for the Nov. 16 general election ends Saturday. Early voting is being conducted at the Ouachita Parish Registrar of Voters' office on DeSiard Street in Monroe and at the West Ouachita Senior Center in West Monroe.
“Early voting is already underway,” Trump said. “I just want you to get out and do it early.”
Trump also announced he would attend the LSU-Alabama football game on Saturday.
Rispone edged out U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, to secure a place in the run-off against Edwards, who is the incumbent. Abraham represents the 5th Congressional District, of which the Monroe-West Monroe area is considered one of the most heavily populated spots in the district.
Political commentators have opined that Rispone must capture a significant number of Abraham supporters to have a chance defeating Edwards in the run-off election.
“He has the backing of Ralph, and Ralph is a winner,” Trump said. “He's an incredible man. He respects Eddie. Eddie respects him.”
Trump invited Rispone to the podium, from where Rispone asked the crowd to applaud his former opponent, Abraham, for challenging Edwards.
“Louisiana is Trump country,” said Rispone, to loud applause.
Other notable figures speaking Wednesday in support of Rispone included Willie Robertson, of A&E's “Duck Dynasty” fame, as well as state Attorney General Jeff Landry.
“The reason we're here tonight is because of Eddie Rispone. Eddie Rispone,” Robertson said. “He's an outsider. We know that worked in Washington so we need that in Louisiana. We believe in Eddie. I want you guys to join me to support Eddie Rispone.”
After provoking the crowd to boo Edwards, Landry reiterated the call to participate in early voting.
“That's got to stop,” Landry said. “You can stop that, right now. Because we need a conservative in the governor's mansion, an outsider, and the man we need is Eddie Rispone.”
“Our choice is Eddie Rispone and we have to fire John Bel Edwards,” Landry added.
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy's remarks bore his fondness for humor.
“Unless you're happy with crappy, I want your vote to Eddie Rispone,” Kennedy said.