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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards defeats Trump-backed challenger

Gov. John Bel Edwards talks to media at the Case Closed Barbershop on Nov. 15  in New Orleans.
John Bel Edwards. Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Incumbent Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) overcame a tough challenge from President Trump-backed businessman Eddie Rispone to be re-elected governor late Saturday for a second term, AP reports.

Why it matters: The tight race victory by the only Democratic governor in the Deep South in Trump country is a major blow for the president, who tried to drum up support for Rispone at two presidential rallies in Louisiana this month and in tweets leading up to the vote.

  • Trump even made a last-ditch appeal on Twitter for Rispone just before Louisiana polls closed.

By the numbers: With 99% of precincts reporting by 11:30 pm ET, official figures show Edwards won 51% of the vote.

Background: Conservative Democrat Edwards was forced into a runoff last month after falling just short of the 50% threshold needed for an outright win, achieving 47% of that vote.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.