Eddie Rispone (left) and Ralph Abraham (right)

Eddie Rispone (left) and Ralph Abraham (right)

A high ranking official in the Louisiana GOP has revealed that some Republicans are holding out hope that another candidate will enter the governor's race this fall, after two candidates already in the race reported raising less than $1 million combined in 2018.

“I’ve been getting a lot of chatter about, ‘Is this the field?’" LAGOP rules chair Scott Wilfong said in a radio interview Tuesday. "There’s definitely some movement to try to get another candidate into the race.”

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, Attorney General Jeff Landry and U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise have all already said they have no plans to run against Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who has been in office since January 2016. 

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone are the only two Republicans who have formally entered the race. 

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.

According to campaign finance reports filed last week, Abraham had raised nearly $357,000 between his early December announcement through the end of the year. He closed out 2018 with about $350,000 in the bank.

Rispone, who is running for office for the first time, reported $5.5 million in his campaign coffer, including $5 million of his own money and $550,000 he raised from donors since launching his campaign in October.

Meanwhile, incumbent Edwards reported having about $8.4 million cash on hand to fuel his re-election bid.

Wilfong called Abraham's tally “very concerning.”

“The money discrepancy is huge," he said during his interview on WRKF. "I know there is a movement to get another candidate in the race. If that will be successful or not, I don’t know.”

Republicans previously have voiced a preference for one candidate in the race to create a direct match-up against Edwards and prevent party in-fighting during the primary.

“By August or September, I think the party, if not officially, will unofficially coalesce around one candidate," Wilfong said Tuesday.


Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.