NO.republicanleadership2.011.012019.jpg

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, speaks during a forum on healthcare during the Southern Republican Leadership Conference Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at the Pontchartrain Convention and Civic Center in Kenner.

Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Abraham is siding with Attorney General Jeff Landry in the ongoing debate over the death penalty's future in Louisiana and thinks that its use could be taken even further.

“Not only am I in favor of the death penalty, but I’m also in favor of enforcing it," Abraham, R-Alto, told The Advocate. "If you murder someone in Louisiana, you should know that when caught you will be put to death.

"While we’re at it, I’d like to see child molesters added to the list of death penalty eligible person," he added. "There is no greater monster than someone who harms an innocent child.”

Abraham is running against incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, and Republican Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone. Neither has publicly stated their personal position on the use of the death penalty in Louisiana.

Landry, a Republican seeking re-election as AG this year, orchestrated a State Capitol hearing earlier this week featuring families of murder victims whose killers remain on death row as the state deals with legal issues over how it carries out the death penalty.

Louisiana is one of 31 states that still allow the death penalty as a form of criminal punishment in law. But the state’s last execution was in 2010, and that prisoner volunteered to be executed. The issue has been tangled up in the legal system amid a fight over the state's process for lethal injection.

While Landry has accused Edwards of playing a role in executions being put on hold, Edwards has repeatedly declined to say his personal views on capital punishment and has deferred to state law on the issue. 

"I took an oath to support the Constitution and laws of the United States and the state of Louisiana," Edwards said in a statement last fall when The Advocate asked for clarity on his position. "The fact of the matter is that we cannot execute someone in the state of Louisiana today because the only legally prescribed manner set forth in state statute is unavailable to us. That's not through any fault of my own or the Department of Corrections."

Rispone's campaign didn't respond to multiple requests from The Advocate this week for comment on the death penalty.

Check back with The Advocate for more details.


Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.