CROUERE: Did Rispone Really Lose The 2019 LAGOV Election?

It has been almost 18 months since the last Louisiana Governor’s race in 2019 and many citizens are still upset that the incumbent, John Bel Edwards, won re-election. He won his first election in 2015 because he defeated a candidate who had tremendous personal baggage and was not supported by a united Republican Party.

It was a different situation in 2019 as the Republican candidate, Eddie Rispone, was supported by almost all the major figures in the party. While there was some friction with supporters of former Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham, who Rispone defeated in the primary election, it was nothing compared to the outright intra-party warfare that existed four years earlier. In fact, Abraham officially endorsed Rispone in the runoff election.

Surely many voters who had supported Edwards in 2015 were ready for another candidate. They had experienced the negative ramifications of four years of a liberal Governor. Rispone also enjoyed the strong support of a popular President, Donald Trump, who campaigned vigorously for him in the state. Trump visited multiple times and held his signature rallies. It was all to no avail as Rispone supposedly lost.

After the disputed presidential election of 2020, it is time to re-examine the 2019 Louisiana Governor’s race and see if there were any abnormalities. Even though Louisiana uses only Dominion voting machines and some political experts have raised questions about those machines, this analysis will not delve into that issue.

What is most striking is the Orleans Parish voter statistics. On Election night 2019, Rispone was leading statewide until late in the evening when the results were reported from New Orleans. After that onslaught for Edwards, Rispone was defeated. The statewide results showed that Edwards received 774,498 votes, or 51%, and Rispone received 734,286 votes, or 49%. It was a margin of victory for Edwards of approximately 40,000 votes.

It was another bitter loss for the Republican Party statewide due to the overwhelming results for the Democrats in Orleans Parish. In Orleans Parish, the 2019 election turnout was 50%, slightly less than the 51% statewide turnout, but what was amazing was that Edwards defeated Rispone by over 100,000 votes in the city, giving him 60,000 more votes than his margin of victory statewide.

In the 2019 Governor’s election, Edwards received 114,812 votes in New Orleans versus only 13,041 votes for Rispone. The Governor destroyed his Republican challenger in the city by a 90-10% margin. This is the most lopsided margin in recent memory. Overall, there were a total of 127,853 votes cast in New Orleans in the runoff.

There is something quite suspicious about these numbers. According to the latest U.S. Census estimates, there are 390,000 people who live in New Orleans. Of that total, approximately 80% are over 18 years of age and eligible to vote, which leaves a total of 312,000 people eligible to register to vote.

Prior to 2019, ex-felons and those on parole were not eligible to vote. Their status was changed after a new Louisiana law was enacted in 2019. The law gave those individuals who had not been in prison for the previous five years an opportunity to vote.  To be eligible, it required them to complete paperwork and deliver it to the parish’s voter registration office.

It is reasonable to assume that a percentage of eligible ex-felons did not follow through on this opportunity. Also, the law did not extend to those more recently released from prison. Considering the requirements and limitations of the law, a disenfranchisement rate of approximately 3.2% seems conservative, especially in a city like New Orleans with a high crime rate. Nonetheless, using that percentage, it will eliminate another 10,000 people from the ranks of eligible voters, leaving a total possible pool of 302,000 voters in New Orleans.

According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, there are currently 273,640 registered voters in New Orleans. If this is accurate, it means that approximately 90% of eligible voters are registered. This percentage is incredibly high, especially compared to the national average. It is estimated that only 70% of eligible voters nationally are registered.

If the national average were implemented in New Orleans, there would be approximately 60,000 fewer voters registered in the city, and, remember, Rispone lost by only 40,000 votes.

There are possibly tens of thousands of suspicious voters on the rolls in Orleans Parish. This is probably the same situation in the other major cities in the state such as Baton Rouge and Shreveport.

It is time for the Louisiana Legislature and the Secretary of State to launch an investigation into this important issue. It must be rectified before the next election.

We must determine whether the current number of registered voters in New Orleans is an honest figure. Are we doing a thorough job of purging from the voter registration lists dead voters, inactive voters or voters who have moved from the area? How many fictitious voters are listed or voters who are registered in multiple places?

This initial research is only meant to spark additional investigations. To safeguard our constitutional republic, we must have free and fair elections that are totally honest.

After the 2020 election debacle, we must make sure that everything is in proper order in Louisiana, including our voter registration rolls. The time to act is now, there is no time to waste as there always seems to be an upcoming election in Louisiana.

Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs nationally on Real America’s Voice Network, AmericasVoice.News weekdays at 7 a.m. CT and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America’s Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on Crouere.net. For more information, email him at [email protected]

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