Eddie Rispone (left) and Ralph Abraham (right)

Eddie Rispone (left) and Ralph Abraham (right)

Two candidates for governor in Louisiana will have the state Republican party's blessing in the Oct. 12 primary election. 

The Republican party's executive committee said Tuesday it has endorsed both Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone in the primary, where they will face off with Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, and three lesser-known candidates. 

The party also endorsed the entire slate of Republican incumbents for the remaining statewide offices: Lt. governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, agriculture commissioner and insurance commissioner. 

The governor's office is the only statewide office in Louisiana held by a Democrat.

All candidates will appear on the same ballot in October, and if no one candidate wins more than 50%, the top two will advance to a runoff election Nov. 16. 

Abraham has led Rispone in the polls, but Rispone, backed by $10 million of his own money he has spent primarily on TV advertising, has made gains in recent weeks. Neither candidate has broken away as the clear frontrunner to challenge Edwards. The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the state's largest business lobby, endorsed both candidates recently. 

While the state party did not pick sides between the Republicans, Abraham's campaign has touted endorsements from a handful of parish Republican Executive Committees, which are local counterparts to the state party. Most notably, the Jefferson Parish Executive Committee endorsed Abraham over Rispone last month. 

Email Sam Karlin at skarlin@theadvocate.com