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West Feliciana Hospital Imaging Department Manager Dakisha Bryant, left, explains some of her department’s new equipment to U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham on Aug. 8, 2017, during a tour of the new 53,000-square-foot hospital, located in St. Francisville.

Pretty much since the day he took office almost two years ago, some Republican strategists have viewed Louisiana's Democratic governor as easy pickings, a fluke winner in a race against a GOP power player who turned out to be pretty distasteful to actual voters.

The polls don't necessarily bear that out, at least not as of the halfway point of John Bel Edwards' first term. But the state continues to trend reliably Republican otherwise, and some of the party's biggest names are either contemplating a challenge in 2019 or being urged to run.

First out of the gate may be U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, the second-term congressman from the state's northeast corner, who told USA Today Network reporter Greg Hilburn that he'd make his decision in the first part of 2018.

Abraham may not be a household name statewide, but an early announcement could give him a leg up potential rivals such as U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and Attorney General Jeff Landry, as well as Abraham's congressional colleague Garret Graves and Slidell state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, to name just a few of the other names that are circulating.

It could also present all those eager GOP strategists with a dilemma: Do they try to unite the party so that Edwards faces a single opponent, or risk a free-for-all in which various Republicans go after one another rather than focus their energy on the Democrat?

That, you'll recall, happened in 2015, when feelings were so raw after the primary than neither Jay Dardenne nor Scott Angelle endorsed their fellow Republican, then-U. S. Sen. David Vitter, when he faced Edwards in the runoff.

Edwards would surely like to see history repeat itself. The question is whether the Republicans have the capacity to prevent it.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.