Gov. John Bel Edwards' campaign on Monday released its first statewide television ad of the 2019 election cycle, highlighting the state's newfound budget stability.
The campaign said it spent seven figures on the ad, which will run in heavy rotation on TV and digital platforms, as the gubernatorial election begins to ramp up with less than four months to go before election day.
The 30 second spot, titled "Surplus," contrasts the $2 billion budget shortfall Edwards inherited when he took office with a budget surplus that let lawmakers give pay raises to teachers this year, among other things. Lawmakers and the governor stabilized Louisiana's finances with a sales tax hike.
"Four years ago, Bobby Jindal left Louisiana in crisis," the narrator of the ad says. "But under Gov. Edwards' leadership, we've turned that deficit into a surplus."
The governor's campaign said it intends to stay on television through the Oct. 12 primary, where the governor hopes to reach above 50% and avoid a runoff. If no candidate wins more than 50% in the primary, the top two vote-getters will advance to a a runoff in November.
Edwards' campaign has consistently tried to contrast the governor with Jindal, who left office unpopular in Louisiana on the heels of a failed presidential bid. The governor's camp has also run for re-election on the $1,000 teacher pay raise that lawmakers agreed to in the session that ended last month, their first in a decade.
As the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, Edwards faces a tricky bid for reelection in an increasingly Republican state.
Congressman Ralph Abraham, of Alto, and wealthy businessman Eddie Rispone, of Baton Rouge, are Edwards' two main Republican challengers.
Rispone, a co-founder of the industrial firm ISC Constructors, has lent his campaign more than $10 million, giving him a slightly larger campaign account than Edwards. While Abraham has lagged behind in the funding race, two well-known Republican donors, Boysie Bollinger and Joe Canizaro, recently said they would help him raise money in the race.