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Trump rallies supporters in Lake Charles, Louisiana ahead of state election

Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Friday evening. The president mostly tackled the impeachment inquiry and slammed the media.

He also pressed his unproven claims against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company when Biden was vice president.
 
Mr. Trump complained about a double standard in news media coverage. He said if any of his children were similarly accused, the media wouldn't call the allegations unsubstantiated: "They would be saying, 'Where's the nearest cell?'"

Election 2020 Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Friday, October 11, 2019. Gerald Herbert / AP

There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe Biden or Hunter Biden.

Mr. Trump claimed Democrats are "rage filled" and opened an impeachment inquiry because they "have gone completely insane" in their "nonstop battle" to over turn the results of "the most spectacular election" in the history of our country, the 2016 presidential election.

"Nancy Pelosi hates the United States of America, or she wouldn't be doing this," Mr. Trump said of the Democratic speaker of the House, who had long resisted calls to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Mr. Trump came to Louisiana to unite a squabbling Republican Party against the Deep South's only Democratic governor, hoping to keep John Bel Edwards from notching a primary win in Saturday's election.

Republican loyalties are split between two major candidates: Ralph Abraham, a third-term congressman and physician from rural northeast Louisiana, and Eddie Rispone, a businessman and longtime political donor from Baton Rouge who is making his first bid for office.

Both Republican candidates claim long-term support from Mr. Trump and were in attendance at the rally, along with other prominent Louisiana Republican lawmakers, including Steve Scalise and John Kennedy.
 
"Tomorrow, you've got to vote John Bel Edwards out," Mr. Trump said, criticizing the Democrat as bad for the state. "If he doesn't get 50%, then one of our two great candidates will win that."

The president is not endorsing either candidate to maximize chances that Edwards will fall below the 50% vote threshold needed to avoid a runoff, a White House aide and a campaign aide told The Associated Press. Mr. Trump plans to endorse whichever GOP candidate makes it to a runoff against Edwards, the aides said.

"Keep Democrat Governor Edwards under 50%, force a runoff, and have a great new Republican Governor! Voting on Saturday," Mr. Trump tweeted.

The president said Friday of Edwards, "You know, he's not doing a very good job in Louisiana," and he again expressed the hope that he could be replaced by a Republican. 

Mr. Trump had company on his way to Lake Charles. He's giving the Eastbank All-Stars team, the winners of the Little League World Series, a lift back to Louisiana on Air Force One. They also joined him on stage at the rally.

Eric Holl, a spokesman for Edwards's campaign told CBS News, "This last-minute rally is proof that the partisan forces in Washington realize that Gov. Edwards is supported by a wide range of people in Louisiana, from every political party and every background... Gov. Edwards will keep putting people over politics in his second term." 

Early voting returns showed Democrats with a 1% lead in turnout as of Sunday morning.

Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.

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