Today in The Rundown: John Bel Edwards gets a surprise endorsement; David Vitter wins a former governor’s endorsement; a hospital plan redux; and more.

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Countdown…

Days until the runoff: 16

Days until gubernatorial inauguration: 67

Days until the Iowa caucuses: 89

The News

LA Gov: Republican Jay Dardenne is expected to cross party lines to endorse Democrat John Bel Edwards in the governor’s race today. http://bit.ly/1XQJ5Ni

GOP Gov: Republicans who previously supported other gubernatorial candidates are now evaluating their options in the governor’s race. http://bit.ly/1XQHPtA

Vitter: Former Gov. Mike Foster endorsed David Vitter. http://bit.ly/1Q5D3ad

Vitter 2x: Meanwhile, some Republicans are reluctant to back Vitter after he has repeatedly criticized state lawmakers (via AP): http://bit.ly/1QexRjt

LA Lege: In the House District 29 seat, Metro Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards’ rival has questioned her health and ability to serve; Edwards decried the move as desperate and offensive. http://bit.ly/1QexRjt

Federal: Of the 6,100 federal prisoners released through a new federal program that has been criticized by Vitter, 68 returned to Louisiana communities. http://bit.ly/1Qexm90

Hospitals: LSU’s battling the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana again in court over management of Shreveport, Monroe hospital. http://bit.ly/1NQPvap

Environment: A new report attempts to provide information to help manage cypress forests along Louisiana’s coast. http://bit.ly/1NQPiEp

AG: Incumbent Buddy Caldwell is being backed by the Legislative Black Caucus. http://bit.ly/1Qevm0v

Football: New Orleans has been picked to host the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship. http://bit.ly/1Qewhhr

Travel: A new study has found BR airport is losing nearly two-thirds of potential passengers to other airports. http://bit.ly/1NQP2oJ

At the Capitol

The Louisiana Commission on Civic Education meets at 2 p.m. See the agenda.

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