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Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

Another poll setback for Trump-led Republicans; president in ‘great’ health

Democratic governor John Bel Edwards fended off Republican challenger Eddy Rispone , a businessman, winning 51% of the votes.

world Updated: Nov 17, 2019 21:41 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan times, Washington
In a setback for US President Donald Trump, Republicans failed Saturday night to deny Louisiana’s Democratic governor a second term
In a setback for US President Donald Trump, Republicans failed Saturday night to deny Louisiana’s Democratic governor a second term(REUTERS)
         

In a setback for US President Donald Trump, Republicans failed Saturday night to deny Louisiana’s Democratic governor a second term, making it the third electoral defeat for the party in the country’s southern states in recent weeks.

Democratic governor John Bel Edwards fended off Republican challenger Eddy Rispone , a businessman, winning 51% of the votes.

Trump travelled twice this month to Louisiana, the last time was on Thursday, and canvassed for Edwards in a string of tweets. “LOUISIANA, VOTE @EddieRispone TODAY! He will be a great governor!” he tweeted Saturday as polling opened.

Louisiana did vote, but not sufficiently for Rispone.

Republicans have now lost three major state elections in America’s conservative south. Earlier this month, Matt Bevan, Republican governor Kentucky and staunch Trump loyalist, lost his re-election bid despite the president’s best efforts, which included a poll-eve rally in the state. The same day, November 6, Republicans ceded control of the House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia state, making it a clean sweep for Democrats, who already had the governorship, Lt-governorship and attorney general office.

Republicans held on to Mississippi, another southern state, with Tate Reeves, the Lt-governor, winning a promotion.

Trump took credit for that win, saying he helped Reeves narrow cover the gap in polls with a rally. But he did not accept blame the defeats in Kentucky and Virginia. He did indicate though that his campaigning for Bevan might have helped the governor get closer to the finishing line, But it was not enough, in the end, to compensate for the governor’s own unpopularity, which, political analysts conceded, was the chief cause of his defeat. All other Republicans in the state race had won comfortably.

Trump is not on the ballot in these state elections, but they are treated as a test of his re-election prospects. And he makes them about himself, his presidency and the ongoing impeachment inquiry, specially at his rallies. Analysts have noted an erosion in his support among suburban voters, for instance, because of his divisive brand of politics.

Trump is ‘healthy’

The US president declared himself in “very good (great)” health after an unschedule “phase one” of his annual medical exam Saturday.

Trump spent two hours at the Walter Reed US military center in the adjoining state of Maryland. A White House spokesperson said in a statement the president had taken advantage of a free weekend to go for his annual tests ahead of a “very busy 2020”, when he will be running for re-election.

President Trump’s last medical was in February after which he was declared to be in “very good health”.

Trump is 73. He weighed 243 pounds at the last tests and at 6 feet and 3 inches, his body mass index is 30.4; anything over 30 is obese.

But he is feeling fine. “Began phase one of my yearly physical. Everything very good (great!),” he wrote on Twitter.