FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, Gov. John Bel Edwards acknowledges his supporters as he comes out onstage for a debate with Eddie Rispone and Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham in Baton Rouge, La. Edwards is battling to hold onto the Democrats’ only governorship in the Deep South. (Bill Feig/The Advocate via AP, Pool, File)

GOP firepower aims to oust Democratic Louisiana governor

October 08, 2019 - 9:24 am

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is battling to hold onto the Democrats' only governorship in the Deep South, with an onslaught of national GOP firepower aimed at ousting him.

Republicans see Edwards' 2015 victory as a fluke and believe they can recapture the governor's mansion in a state with no other Democratic statewide elected officials.

But the moderate Edwards is an anti-abortion, pro-gun, former Army ranger. And he is proving remarkably resilient deep in the heart of Trump country.

Edwards is leading in the polls, within striking distance of outright victory in Saturday's primary, when all candidates run against each other on the same ballot.

National Republican leaders are barnstorming the state trying to energize GOP voters and keep Edwards from claiming enough cross-party support to top 50%.