Petition to Recall Gov. Edwards Fizzles as Deadline Approaches

A petition demanding the removal of Gov. John Bel Edwards from office has fizzled with less than half the signatures needed to move forward.

The petition was filed on August 31, 2020, by Lee Joseph Vidrine and Michael Lyn Vidrine, both of Eunice, LA. In order to succeed, the men needed to secure the support of 20 percent of Louisiana’s registered voters – or just over 600,000. That’s a lot to ask for considering that a survey done by the University of New Orleans Research Center found Edwards enjoyed a 56 percent approval rating as of last November.

“People generally feel he’s doing a good job and that he’s done very well in receiving crossover support from Republicans. We’ve seen in this election and previous studies on his job approval,” said Research Center Director Professor Ed Chervenak.

According to the survey, over one-third of Louisiana Republicans approve of the job that Edwards is doing – high marks for a deeply red state. Edwards also enjoys an approval rating above fifty percent in the 1st Congressional District – the state’s most staunchly Republican area.

Thus far, the petition to remove Edwards has only gained 13o,000 signatures across seven parishes. With the Feb. 27 deadline fast approaching, it seems unlikely that the Eunice men will achieve their goal. Those who have signed have done so for a variety of reasons, but many blame the restrictions put in place by Edwards to protect residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All of us really understand wanting to protect life. Specifically first in the pandemic, but the hypocrisy of this is when you close a church and leave a casino open,” said Chris Fontenot.

This petition is separate from a petition started by local activists last November. That second petition was being circulated by activist group Village 337, led by Devon Norman. Norman has stated that he believes Edwards has not done enough to address the many injustices occurring across the state, including the death of 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin at the hands of Lafayette police and the unsolved death of 15-year-old Quawan Charles.

“We believe anyone who is silent is complicit. We have given the Governor opportunities to address what is happening,” community activist Devon Norman said. “They won’t take action, we will. If we don’t get it, shut it down. We mean that in the literal sense.”

Village 337 is a collective of young leaders in Lafayette, LA striving to make the community more welcoming and versatile, according to the group’s Facebook page.

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