As state Republicans started to position themselves to take on Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards for reelection, a few theories emerged about how to avoid a rerun of their 2015 shellacking.
The first was that the party should unite behind a single candidate. The second was that, if more than one Republican ran, they should aim their fire at Edwards and not one another.
So far, the Louisiana GOP is shaping up as 0-for-2.
While top-tier Republicans such as U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Attorney General Jeff Landry took passes, two Republicans did sign up to run, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone. And this week came the first sign that they might emulate 2015 candidates David Vitter, Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne and attack one another.
It started when something called the The Conservative Intelligence blog alleged that Abraham is insufficiently conservative and not supportive enough of President Donald Trump (he’s actually been a vocal supporter of the president and his policies). The Rispone campaign said it hadn’t seen the post until a reporter from The Advocate tweeted it, but he proceeded to send around news alert promoting the link. The Abraham campaign responded by calling the whole matter “fake news.”
Edwards isn’t going to get off as easy as he did four years ago, of course. Back then, the widespread assumption was that any suitable Republican could beat a Democrat. This time, Edwards has a track record of winning and all the advantages of incumbency.
Still, you’d think his critics would have learned more of a lesson.