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Gubernatorial candidates, from left, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, Eddie Rispone, and Gov. John Bel Edwards, face each other in the second debate, hosted by Louisiana Public Broadcasting, on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, at Angelle Hall on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Congressman Ralph Abraham is hitting back against Eddie Rispone over an attack ad he launched last month, with Abraham releasing a new TV ad of his own this week that calls Rispone "desperate" and accuses him of lying. 

Abraham's ad, launched Monday, responds to several of the attacks made by Rispone, who accused Abraham of voting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and voting against a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

"Eddie Rispone is desperate and is running dishonest attack ads against Ralph Abraham," the narrator says. "The facts: Ralph Abraham doesn't vote with Nancy Pelosi. And he voted seven times for Trump's wall. Ralph Abraham is rates as the most conservative candidate in the race for governor by the Louisiana Family Forum." 

The ad calls Abraham the most conservative candidate in the race, and ends with, "Eddie Rispone is lying to you, and that's the truth." 

Abraham previously vowed to keep his focus on Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in the race, adhering to the Republican party wishes that the Republicans avoid trashing each other ahead of the Oct. 12 open primary, where all candidates appear on the same ballot. 

In a statement, Abraham said "it's unfortunate that we had to devote time and resources rebutting blatant lies from my Republican opponent." 

"We will not launch personal attacks against my Republican opponent, but I will defend my conservative record and values," Abraham said. "I call on my Republican opponent to pull all negative attack ads, so both campaigns can focus our resources on defeating John Bel Edwards." 

Rispone angered some Republicans when he launched the attack ad last month, and Abraham at last week's debate hit back forcefully against the attacks, which went after his conservative credentials. 

However, Rispone has gained in the polls since the move. Rispone's campaign spokesman Anthony Ramirez reiterated the points made in the original attack ad, noting Abraham is the "most absent member of Congress." 

"Abraham takes the taxpayers paycheck, but he doesn’t show up to work," he said. "The people of Louisiana are looking for an outsider who knows how to create jobs, that’s why conservative Eddie Rispone will beat liberal John Bel Edwards in the runoff." 

The primary election is Oct. 12, with a Nov. 16 primary between the top two finishers if no one wins more than 50%. 

Email Sam Karlin at skarlin@theadvocate.com