Alford: Political money game may look different this year

While Democratic boosters in Louisiana are eager to double down on the candidacy of Gov. John Bel Edwards, Republican donors and conservative-minded associations are taking a wait-and-see approach. For now, writes Jeremy Alford in his latest column.

At the same time, political observers are beginning to wonder just how far a dollar can be stretched by modern campaigns, Alford says.

Sure, money still drives narratives and voters, but uncertainty about the coming cycle is keeping some cash locked away.

From the perspective of pinching pennies, the ability of businessman Eddie Rispone to self-fund may be distracting donors. Moreover, he has yet to prove himself in a forum or even a paid commercial. Abraham, while a known political brand, is likewise unproven on a statewide level.

GOP boosters are still trying to figure out the convoluted regional politics of this developing race. Abraham, of course, has to galvanize north Louisiana to be competitive and lock down his own 5th Congressional District, which has a minority population just under 35%. Rispone will do well in his native Baton Rouge and probably the River Parishes, leaving two critical battlegrounds for this pair of Republican contenders, assuming they remain the only two.

The “Pontchartrain Panini” of Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes is a must-have region for any conservative politico seeking success in statewide politics. That’s why Republicans in recent cycles have planted flags there first. With Abraham focusing on the piney north, Rispone shoring up his Red Stick base and both wanting to take bites out of the “Pontchartrain Panini,” that may leave Acadiana as the all-important swing region.

Read the full column where Alford digs deeper into how these campaigns could play out.

Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at

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