Republican leaders aim to unify support for Louisiana’s gubernatorial runoff

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) — Louisiana voters will have two options when they pick a governor next month. It has long been clear who most Democrats are backing, and now Republicans are uniting behind a single candidate of their own.

Republican Eddie Rispone sits today as the only bar between Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. With Republican primary challenger Rep. Ralph Abraham now out of the race, Rispone is enjoying a more unified GOP blessing.

“In the Republicans’ case, they would like to be able to show evidence of President Trump’s coming down to campaign for a Republican, and that campaigning produces positive results,” political pollster John Couvillon said.

Trump, the Republican Governors Association, Sen. Bill Cassidy and Sen. John Kennedy had each punted on picking one Republican gubernatorial challenger over the other. But they all jumped for Rispone on Saturday, once voters narrowed the options.

Couvillon says the national binges of time and money have only just begun.

“In other words, they’re not going to leave anything to chance and figure people would just vote on their own,” he said.

GOP brass want to retain the 52 percent of voters who went Republican in the Oct. 12 primary; their idea is that having them all in Rispone’s corner could carry them Nov. 16. But Couvillon says enthusiasm works both ways.

“Democratic turnout was lagging in the primary, because I don’t feel like they felt a sense of urgency,” Couvillon said. “Well, there’s going to be more of a sense of urgency now that you have one Democrat and one Republican.”

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