Congressman Ralph Abraham enters Louisiana governor’s race

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham has jumped into the Louisiana governor's race, becoming the second Republican to announce he'll challenge Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards in the 2019 election.

The congressman's decision Thursday comes a month after he won re-election to a third term in the U.S. House and days after U.S. Sen. John Kennedy declared that he wouldn't run.

Abraham hopes his quick decision upon Kennedy's exit will keep other possible Republican contenders away from the race and rally GOP support for him. He issued a brief statement announcing his candidacy and saying he'll have an official campaign launch early next year.

Abraham is a doctor from rural northeast Louisiana. He joins wealthy Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone as the Republican contenders vying to keep Edwards from a second term.