Acacia Squires | WGLT

Acacia Squires

Updated at 3:39 a.m. ET

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, held onto his seat Saturday after a tough challenge from his Republican opponent, Eddie Rispone, a wealthy businessman and political newcomer who was supported by President Trump.

Edwards defeated Rispone by about 40,000 votes. Edwards benefited from strong support and high voter turnout in the state's more populated urban areas while Rispone carried most of Louisiana's rural parishes. Polls showed a close race in the final week.

Gubernatorial wasn't a word I thought much about until I started editing pieces about gubernatorial elections.

In fact, there's a gubernatorial election in Louisiana on Saturday between the only Democratic governor in the deep South and his Republican challenger, a wealthy Trump-backed businessman.

If you follow politics, you're probably inundated by news of the 2020 presidential race by now. But did you know that 2019 is an election year too? This month, five states will hold big general elections.

Voters in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia will elect either a whole slew of state lawmakers or a governor and other statewide executives. Or, in the case of Louisiana and Mississippi, all of the above.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is a lot of things Virginia's current governor is not: young, charismatic and part of a multicultural wave sweeping through the commonwealth's Democratic Party.

He could soon be called upon to lead the state, should Gov. Ralph Northam, a fellow Democrat, reverse course and adhere to the avalanche of calls — from inside and outside Virginia — for him to resign.

Editor's note, Nov. 30: Since this story was originally published, we've done additional reporting. We spoke with 11 current and recent Ballou teachers and four recent Ballou graduates, and we reviewed hundreds of attendance documents, class rosters and emails. They show that many students graduated despite chronic absenteeism. Records show half the graduates missed more than three months of school, or 60 days.

Americans have about $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. And there's yet another survey out that shows students in this country are confused about their loans, in the dark when it comes to knowing what they've borrowed, uncertain about how to pay them back.