The inaugural campaign of Gov. John Bel Edwards dished up a full course of lessons for Louisiana. We learned personality politics can mean everything in certain runoff scenarios, and that election fundamental should occasionally be tossed aside. Most importantly, Edwards’ campaign narrative from 2015 remains a case study for all political professionals, especially those who suffer from overconfidence.
With the weight of incumbency, writes Jeremy Alford in his new column, Edwards heads into summer 2019 with a pile of money in the bank and out-of-state friends ready to fight. But serious days are ahead, and the Edwards outfit will be tested by a handful of groups preparing to lob million-dollar attacks.
The governor so far has the Democratic bench to himself, but the GOP side of the court is being shared by northeast Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone of Baton Rouge.
Abraham, who endured a slow fundraising start, is emerging as an establishment candidate, thanks in small part to his interactions with President Donald Trump. Part of the Louisiana rumor mill suggests that Abraham may also have an in with the Republican Governors Association, which has money to burn.
Rispone, who injected enough personal wealth into his campaign to keep pace with Edwards, could reportedly be the first candidate to go up on television. Rispone has the cash to do so, but media buyers still believe that once you go up on TV, you have to stay on TV.
Critics say Rispone won’t spend his personal fortune on the race, while his campaign counters that he’s willing and able. Truly, the only thing that resonates is that Rispone has enough money in his account to match Edwards.
Read Alford’s full column, where he delves into some of the other political storylines that could sway the upcoming election.