BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards needs strong turnout from Louisiana's black voters to keep his seat as the Deep South's only Democratic governor, the type of turnout he didn't get in the primary election.

Edwards and his backers are laboring to reverse that trend ahead of the Nov. 16 runoff against Republican businessman Eddie Rispone.

The intensified outreach shows signs of generating more enthusiasm from African American voters. Early voting numbers show a higher black turnout than in the primary.

Edwards added another political consultant for the runoff focused on get-out-the-vote efforts among core supporters, particularly African Americans. He's redoubled meetings with faith-based leaders and activists in the black community.

And he's added new messaging, suggesting that Rispone's proposals could threaten historically black colleges with budget cuts or attempted mergers.

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