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Gov. John Bel Edwards gestures while answering a question as he speaks at the Press Club of Baton Rouge luncheon Monday Jan. 7, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La.

Louisiana Republicans have said for months that they would like to rally behind a single candidate in an attempt to defeat Gov. John Bel Edwards this fall.

Despite two Republicans already entering the race, a Republican operative in the state party ranks indicated during a radio interview on Tuesday that it's possible the GOP could formally stake out a preferred candidate.

“We’re going to try to do what we can to winnow the field down to one,” Scott Wilfong said during an episode of Talk Louisiana with Jim Engster. (Listen here, remarks begin about 17 minutes in.)

Wilfong said state party leaders will be meeting in two weeks and likely will discuss plans moving forward.

“We’ve already got a plan to try to look ahead and settle on one candidate ultimately,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone have already begun fundraising and campaigning in the race, which is seen as a priority for Republicans nationally this year.

“At some point, we would like to see one of them get out," Wilfong said.

Edwards, who has been in office since January 2016, is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South.

His campaign announced Tuesday that the incumbent heads into 2019 with nearly $8.4 million in his campaign coffers, after raising $3.8 million in 2018.

Rispone’s campaign announced that the ISC Constructors co-founder will report $5.5 million cash on hand, about $5 million of which Rispone has put up himself. He raised half a million after establishing a campaign committee in October.

Abraham, meanwhile, hasn't revealed his fundraising haul. Campaign finance reports for 2018 are due Feb. 15, which will provide more insight into campaign spending and top tier donors.

The election is Oct. 12. A Nov. 16 runoff will take place between the top two vote-getters if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary.


Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.