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Trump aims to make tight Louisiana governor race a referendum on his economy

As President Donald Trump throws all his political weight into swinging a close governor’s race in Louisiana, both he and the state’s Democratic incumbent have pinned their hopes in part to an improving economy.

Louisiana will decide on Saturday whether to reelect John Bel Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South. Trump held his third rally of the governor’s race Thursday night as Republican Eddie Rispone tries to unseat Edwards. Trump’s trips to Louisiana underscore the importance to the GOP of flipping a state that the president carried by 20 percentage points in 2016.

Rispone has hitched his political fate to the president, urging voters in recent days to show “support” for Trump by backing him Saturday. The president, in turn, has cited the state’s economic turnaround as a reason to vote Republican.

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During a Thursday night rally in Bossier City in northwestern Louisiana, Trump said “America is booming like never before.” Ahead of a separate rally for Rispone earlier this month, the White House promoted the “Trump economy in Louisiana” in a pair of tweets, touting job gains, a falling unemployment rate, wage growth and the energy industry.

Edwards has tried to use the White House’s promotion of the state’s economy to gain an edge. He held a news conference Thursday standing in front of blown up versions of tweets the White House sent last week touting the state.

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