The Republican side of the 2019 governor’s race is now wide open after Senator John Kennedy bowed out yesterday, leaving the GOP with no clear standard-bearer to lead the charge against the southeast’s only Democratic governor.
UL Lafayette Poli Sci Professor Pearson Cross says not having to face Kennedy is a major boost to Edwards’ chances.
“With him not in the race things become much diceier, and you get a chance that you could end up with two or three or four Republicans who are splitting the vote.”
So far the only Republican to have officially joined the race is Baton Rouge Businessman Eddie Rispone. Rispone has offered up five million dollars of his own money to fund his race, but Cross says he’ll need more than just moneybags to win the mansion.
“Money alone can’t do it, you saw that with Walter Boasso and John Georges. You can spend a lot of money and come in a distant distant third or fourth.”
Rispone is a major proponent of charter schools, and a frequent participant at the Capitol in legislative discusses surrounding education.
The decision leaves many analysts considering Congressman Ralph Abraham the current GOP frontrunner, if he announces. Cross says Abraham’s name recognition in south Louisiana is severely lacking, but he does have support from the base.
“He is well liked by Republicans, he does have a Congressional job that he won’t lose if he runs for governor. He may be the person that people coalesce around.”
Treasurer John Schroder and State Senator Sharon Hewitt have also stated their interest in running in 2019.