John Bel Edwards Made An Endorsement In An LSU Student Government Race. He Lost.

Well, this was pretty embarrassing for Louisiana’s governor. It’s meaningless in the grand scheme of things, which is why it’s pretty much unheard of that Edwards would throw his weight around in a college popularity contest in the first place, even at LSU, the flagship university of the state’s higher education system.

You’d think if you’re going to dive that deep you’d at least make sure to pick a winner.

But he didn’t.

It definitely got a bit of attention

“With respect to this election,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said, “It’s time.”

The It’s Time campaign, headed by presidential candidate and mass communication junior Mia LeJeune and her runningmate and English junior Angelina Cantelli, posted a 15-second video endorsement from Edwards on its social media accounts around 8 p.m. on March 24, with less than four hours left to vote.

“I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know Mia LeJeune,” Edwards said. “I can highly recommend her for your next president. Vote It’s Time.”

This is the first time that Louisiana’s governor has ever publicly supported a Student Government campaign, according to the ticket’s campaign manager Charlie Stephens.

“I think the governor recognizes the hard work put in by our team,” Stephens said. “This is a historic ticket in many ways breaking barriers on a multitude of fronts. JBE’s endorsement is representative of how impactful a LeJeune-Cantelli administration would be on the student body,” he said.

The post garnered attention quickly, with LSU students, faculty, and members of the Louisiana legislature weighing in with their opinions.

Why would it generate attention? Because right now LSU is an absolute, complete mess. And John Bel Edwards has been the guy ultimately in charge of the place since 2016. A lot of the bad behavior and terrible management plaguing LSU predates his time as governor, but certainly not all of it – and he’s done just about nothing to clean up LSU’s act.

People have noticed this, you know…

Why did Edwards put himself into this? Because his son was working on that campaign.

Which is old-school Stupid Louisiana to a T.

First of all, if everybody recognizes LSU is a mess, which they do, the endorsement of the guy in charge of the mess does more harm than good. Second of all, while LSU student government is in fact politics, people still consider that separate from “actual” politics, so bringing in a politician like Edwards is going to be seen as “politicizing” something which is typically seen as nonpartisan if not nonpolitical.

And third, why would you put your prestige as governor on the line in a student government race which is a complete crapshoot? We get doing a favor for your kid, but family and business ought to be separate.

But of course, they aren’t in old-school Stupid Louisiana.

How did this work out? Not great.

The Bowman-Milligan campaign, headed by presidential candidate Javin Bowman and vice presidential candidate Abbie Grace Milligan, won LSU’s 2021 Student Government election, according to Election Commissioner Rehm Maham.

Maham announced the unofficial results in a Zoom meeting with over 250 viewers on March 26. Maham will announce the official results on Monday, March 29 after the election board decides on pending litigation.

The election brought in 5,207 student voters, 17% of LSU’s student body.

The Bowman-Milligan ticket secured 2,551 votes, or 50%. The It’s Time ticket, led by presidential candidate Mia LeJeune and vice presidential candidate Angelina Cantelli, secured 2,148 votes, or 42%. UNITY, led by presidential and vice presidential candidates Amina Meselhe and Preston White, earned 402 votes, nearly 8%.

So John Bel Edwards’ endorsement gets you beat 58-42 on LSU’s campus. That’s the metric you can maybe apply statewide now.

We’ll see what that does in the 2nd District Congressional runoff which is coming up, because while Edwards hasn’t made an endorsement in that race it’s very clear he’s for Troy Carter. If Carter should lose to Karen Carter Peterson, that would be a lot worse political reversal than the LSU SGA debacle.

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