Louisiana’s Republican Party leader is calling on GOP contenders for governor to focus their ire on Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards and avoid attacks on each other, after one Republican contender appeared to be linked to intraparty fighting.
“Our Republican candidates must wage this campaign in the knowledge that Republican infighting only assures a second victory for John Bel Edwards, and we must not let that happen!” GOP Chairman Louis Gurvich said in a statement released Thursday night.
The comments followed information that appears to connect businessman Eddie Rispone’s campaign to a website slamming fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Ralph Abraham. The website Conservative Intelligence Briefing, known as Conservative Intel, questioned the conservative bonafides of Abraham, a third-term congressman, and suggested Abraham doesn’t support President Donald Trump, who remains popular in Louisiana.
Rispone’s spokesman circulated the website post, and the Rispone campaign sent out a fundraising email through the conservativeintel.com domain.
“Clearly they were involved. They can’t deny that,” said Abraham’s political consultant Lionel Rainey. “They do business with the company, and they sent the email out.”
Rispone spokesman Anthony Ramirez didn’t respond Friday to a phone call and text message seeking comment about Gurvich’s statement or the website post.
Concerns about GOP infighting are particularly acute ahead of the October election, because Republicans blame attacks among their own candidates for helping to elect Edwards four years ago. In that 2015 race, Republican candidates Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne focused their criticism on GOP rival David Vitter instead of Edwards in the primary, and Vitter limped into a runoff against Edwards badly wounded from the hits.
Gurvich didn’t say whether he believes Rispone was directly involved in the attack on Abraham. Read the full story.