As the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, Gov. John Bel Edwards knows how partisanship can creep into Louisiana politics.
“It is certainly more like Washington than it was 10 years ago,” Edwards tells Governing magazine in a new profile.
The governor was elected to the office a year after former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu lost her bid for reelection in 2014, leading many to believe Democrats could no longer win a statewide office in Louisiana.
But Edwards, a devout Christian who championed traditional liberal causes as a candidate, believes his electoral success two years ago points the way for Democrats to win back control of reliably red Southern states.
“I think there are some in my party who believe that the current dysfunction in the Republican Party and the low approval ratings of our president means that we’re going to automatically be successful going forward. I reject that idea,” he says. “We have to go out and seize the middle of the political spectrum. You don’t get it by simply not being a Republican.”