Don’t Look So Surprised That JBE Just Endorsed Shawn Wilson

Since he put Wilson into the race in the first place, we actually expected John Bel Edwards would have endorsed his Secretary of Transportation yesterday, when he announced he was running.

But he’s done it, so there’s that.

 Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced his support for former Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Shawn Wilson as the next governor Tuesday morning.

“Today, I am proud to endorse Shawn Wilson. When I was elected Governor, the only person I wanted to serve as your Transportation Secretary was Shawn Wilson. Shawn’s reputation speaks for itself. He’s spent his career bringing people together to accomplish the most difficult tasks. In his seven years as Secretary, he has overseen the implementation of the largest infrastructure investments in our state’s history. We are finally tackling the infrastructure projects we have dreamed about for decades. His success in this role was only possible because he works with anyone, regardless of political party, to get things done.

“While in many significant ways Louisiana is demonstrably better today than when I was elected, we have our fair share of challenges, and I believe the only way to overcome them is by putting partisan differences aside to put Louisiana first. Shawn shares my belief that we should put what’s best for our people before what’s best for our political parties. If we’re going to continue to move Louisiana in the right direction, we need Shawn as our next Governor. He’s exactly the type of leader who will bridge the partisan divides that too often take hold of our politics. Donna and I are proud to endorse his campaign, and we ask Louisianans to lift their prayers with ours for Shawn, his wife, Rocki, and their family as they embark on this journey.”

Wilson worked under four governors in the state and said at the time of his announcement that Louisiana needed a governor who would “build bridges, not burn them.”

Edwards’ words are meaningless, of course, as he’s been one of the most egregious bullies in Louisiana’s modern political history and the idea that he – forget about Wilson – is some sort of bipartisan actor.

Wilson’s bipartisan bona fides are that he’s been a bureaucrat in state government for 25 years and some of that was spent under Republican governors. Whether anybody is going to buy that is a good question.

But whatever. Wilson is going to consolidate support among black voters, partisan Democrats and a big chunk of the status quo crony crowd. That isn’t enough to get to 50 percent; he’s going to have to eat into the moderate Republican vote, and that’s going to be a challenge.

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Most moderate Republicans, mind you, are exhausted over the state’s woeful performance under Edwards. Polls show two-thirds of the state’s people think it’s on the wrong track. It’s hard to sell a continuation of that to them even though a whole lot of them voted to put the state through two terms of JBE.

But we’ll see.

What we do know now is that Wilson is carrying the Democrats’ standard and he’s locked into a spot in the runoff.

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