In the heart of Trump country, the moderate Edwards cobbled together enough cross-party support with his focus on bipartisan, state-specific issues to defeat Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, getting about 51% of the vote. Current Democratic Governor John Edwards won his 2015 election by more than 12 percent of the vote.
Rispone's loss to Bel Edwards is particularly embarrassing for Trump, who campaigned for Rispone in Louisiana and told voters in the conservative state (which he won by almost 20 points in the 2016 presidential election) that the contest was a referendum on his presidency.
The president's intense attention motivated not only conservative Republicans, but also powered a surge in anti-Trump and black voter turnout that helped Mr Edwards.
Coming after a defeat in the Kentucky governor's race and sizeable losses in Virginia's legislative races, the Louisiana result seems certain to rattle Republicans as they head into the 2020 presidential election.
Mr Edwards is the Democrats' only governor in the Deep South and his win delivers a blow to US President Donald Trump, who has suffered another gubernatorial loss this year. He campaigned on the state's strengthening economy. The Democrats took back the keys to the Kentucky governor's mansion while the Mississippi GOP's Tate Reeves managed to easily fend off Democratic challenger and state Attorney General Jim Hood on November 5.
Edwards hit Rispone for his support of unpopular former Gov. Bobby Jindal, saying Rispone would return Louisiana to policies that boosted state deficits.
Rispone said he was like Trump, describing himself as a "conservative outsider" whose business acumen would help solve the state's problems. Edwards is anti-abortion and gun-friendly, no liberal he likes to say, though he fought for Medicaid expansion and has waged a fight with the legislature in support of gay rights. Trump had campaigned heartily for both candidates. "But that is exactly what Eddie Rispone would have us do", he continued. On election day Trump took to Twitter multiple times to urge Republican voters in Louisiana to turn up to the polling booths.
More than 480,000 voters opted to cast their ballots early, surpassing the primary's early vote total by over 100,000, according to the Monroe News Star. "You know, I have never been more hopeful that Louisiana's best days are ahead, because we've proven what we can do when we put people over politics".
"We have nothing to be ashamed of". Rispone, was in second place with 27 percent, and close behind was U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, 65, with 24 percent. He touts cutting taxes and state government spending while in office, and working across party lines.