BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - All three of the big names made it official Tuesday, Aug. 6. Congressman Dr. Ralph Abraham, Eddie Rispone, and incumbent governor, John Bel Edwards, signed the papers to qualify to run for governor of Louisiana.
“The state of Louisiana is doing so much better than it was four years ago because of the changes that we’ve made,” Edwards said after qualifying. “Changes that I promised the people of Louisiana when they voted for me four years ago, we have delivered [on] time and time again.”
“A Democrat in Louisiana running statewide is an endangered species," WAFB political analyst, Jim Engster, said of Edwards. “He’s been a relatively popular incumbent and he has a conservative position on social issues, abortions, and guns. He appears to be the overwhelming favorite, unless he makes an unforced error and he doesn’t look like the type to do that.”
Republican businessman, Eddie Rispone, who is from Baton Rouge, is looking to catch up in the polls. He’s linked himself to President Donald Trump and airs TV ads showing his support for the president.
“You have an opportunity to elect someone that’s a pro-Trump, a conservative outsider with serious business skills, not beholden of special interest,” Rispone said. “Someone to go up against the status quo to get us to be the best in the south when it comes to jobs and opportunities.
“Eddie Rispone’s got to hope that a full-fledged media campaign is enough, that he catches fire, and voters like those spots enough that they will vote for him,” said Engster. “So far, this is a ‘get to know you’ situation and we know Eddie Rispone drives a truck, we know he’s got a Trump bumper sticker, and we know he gave money to the president.”
Leading Rispone in most polls is fellow Republican, Congressman Dr. Ralph Abraham. Abraham acknowledged Tuesday he has similar views to Rispone, but has a longer record to run on.
“We certainly share a lot of the same views,” Abraham said. “The difference is just being a servant of the people. All my life, I’ve tried to be out in front.”
“It appears that Ralph Abraham is the insider’s favorite,” Engster said. “He is a congressman, but Eddie Rispone has more money and the question is who finishes number two? And if number two means a runoff? Because John Bel Edwards in a runoff is vulnerable.”