With the gubernatorial runoff election less than a month away, political action committees tied to different business and industry groups are now largely backing Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone, a Republican.
Somewhat interestingly, the endorsements come at a time when Rispone has a couple of factors working against him. Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Democratic incumbent, has recently boosted his approval rating with Louisiana voters to a favorable 52%, Morning Consult reported this morning. There’s also a groundswell of bipartisan backlash against Cajun Industries founder and GOP donor Lane Grigsby—a close Rispone ally—for apparently attempting to influence the Senate District 16 race.
But the high-profile industry organizations who have already announced their endorsements—including the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Associated Builders and Contractors of Louisiana, the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association and the Louisiana Chemical Association—say Rispone fosters a pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-economic development agenda for the state.
“Louisiana’s economy is broken and Eddie is a proven job creator who knows how to get us back on track,” says LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack in a text message.
Rispone also landed endorsements from two PACs affiliated with the ABC, which comes as little surprise. Not only is Rispone’s ISC Constructors a longtime member of ABC Pelican; he previously chaired both the local chapter and national organization.
Meanwhile, LOGA’s support for the Baton Rouge Republican comes from what President Gifford Briggs calls “a lot of headwind the oil and gas industry is facing,” citing an “aggressive legal climate encouraged by the [Edwards] administration” that’s most evident in several of Louisiana’s coastal parishes.
However, not every business group is endorsing a candidate. As a general policy, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber-affiliated FuturePAC doesn’t endorse gubernatorial candidates or engage in other statewide races. When asked why, FuturePAC board chair Ric Kearny said “we find our impact is stronger when we use our resources closer to home.”
It’s also immediately unclear which candidate will secure an endorsement from the small business community, though the National Federation of Independent Business will officially endorse a candidate Monday, says Louisiana state director Dawn Starns.