Give U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham this much: At least he knows how to be decisive.
After months of waiting for U.S. Sen. John Kennedy to make up his mind and ultimately beg off a race for governor, Abraham, who was reelected to Congress only a month ago, took just a few days to survey the officially Kennedy-free landscape and announce that he’s in.
The Republican from Alto isn’t nearly as big a name as Kennedy, but he does give the Republicans hoping to dispatch Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards a second choice. The other declared candidate is Eddie Rispone, a wealthy Baton Rouge businessman who can spend plenty of his own money, and who’ll need to if he wants voters to have any idea who he is.
Abraham already represents a sixth of the state’s voters, which gives him at least something of an edge over Rispone. And as a sitting member of Congress, he should be able to raise some money too, even if contributors are more interested in currying his favor should he lose and remain in Congress.
Whether this is good news for Republicans is open to debate. The whole idea behind Kennedy’s potential candidacy was that the party should present a united front if it wants to mount a strong challenge to a governor with all the advantages — financial and otherwise — of incumbency. The last time the GOP fielded multiple candidates against Edwards, they mostly wound up fighting among themselves for the right to dispatch Edwards.
They’ve learned one thing since then — that Edwards is a much tougher opponent than they imagined back in 2015. It’s hard to argue at this point that they’ve learned much else.