In the Louisiana Republican Party’s ideal world, last week would have marked a show of strength by the two candidates who are trying to turn Democrat John Bel Edwards into a one-term governor. That’s when reports outlining how much money U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone raised in 2018 were formally released.
Consider the political world less than bowled over. Abraham, who won reelection to his congressional seat last fall even as he was plotting his gubernatorial run, banked $350,000. Rispone raised $550,000 from donors and contributed $5 million of his own money.
Edwards, meanwhile, has $8.4 million in the bank, and a political action committee supporting his reelection has another $2.1 million socked away.
Now, the governor has obviously had more time to raise money, and none of these reports reflect fundraising after Jan. 1. Still, there are signs that party bigwigs are concerned. A big one is that state GOP rules chair Scott Wilfong went on the radio after the numbers came out and said so.
“I’ve been getting a lot of chatter about, ‘Is this the field?’" Wilfong said in a radio interview with WRKF Tuesday. “The money discrepancy is huge.”
"I know there is a movement to get another candidate in the race. If that will be successful or not, I don’t know,” he said.
So with big names such as U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and Attorney General Jeff Landry already having taken themselves out of contention, expect the reports to set off yet another round of speculation.
That can’t be good news for Abraham and Rispone. It is, however, great news for Edwards.