The three major candidates for governor have spent nearly $25 million campaigning for the Oct. 12 primary election, and they have a combined $6.3 million on hand for the waning days of the race.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, the incumbent who is trying to retain his position as the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, reported having $3.2 million on hand with 10 days left before the election, outpacing his Republican rivals Eddie Rispone and Congressman Ralph Abraham. The fundraising reports were due at midnight Thursday to the Louisiana Board of Ethics.
Rispone, who has given his campaign more than $11.5 million of his own personal money, reported having $2.7 million. Abraham had $318,682, continuing his lagging funding clip compared to his opponents.
Abraham has also joined Rispone in loaning his campaign personal funds in recent weeks. He has shelled out at least $350,000 of his own money for the campaign, saying Wednesday he wanted to make sure his campaign had enough resources in the final stretch.
Edwards' campaign used those loans to slam Abraham over a pledge he made to donate his congressional salary to charity, which his staff earlier this year said he abandoned after one term because he discovered congressional rules limit how much he can earn from his medical practice. The governor's campaign accused Abraham of lying about not being able to afford the donations to charity because he gave his campaign $350,000.
Abraham said in an editorial board meeting with The Advocate Thursday he and his wife still donate six figures to "many many charities" each year.
Rispone has also hammered Abraham on the question of his pledge to donate his salary to charity in an attack ad.
The candidates spent millions in September, led by Rispone’s $3.6 million. The latest reports cover the period between Sept. 3 and Sept. 22. Edwards spent $3.35 million and Abraham spent $986,110.
Edwards, whose campaign has spent money continuously since being elected in 2015, has shelled out the most of all candidates for the election, at more than $11 million. He has also led the way in raising money from contributors, far outpacing the two Republicans.
Rispone has spent more than $10 million on the race in total. Abraham, who represents many of the poorer, rural areas of north Louisiana, has spent just under $3 million.
Super PACs are also spending heavily in the race. Gumbo PAC, which has taken $1.7 million from the Democratic Governors Association in D.C., reported spending $1.72 million during the September period and had $1.16 million on hand for the rest of the race. The Republican Governors Association’s Right Direction PAC, which launched a new attack ad against Edwards on Thursday, reported spending $1.4 million during the period and had more than half a million dollars on hand, all funds from the RGA.
Securing Louisiana’s Future PAC, which is affiliated with Abraham, spent $138,358 and had $187,318 on hand.