Television ad wars begin in the Louisiana governor’s race
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A day after Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards launched the TV campaign for his re-election bid, a Republican group responded Tuesday with its own advertising to attack the Democratic incumbent’s performance.
The Republican Governors Association said its first 30-second TV spot of the governor’s race, financed by its political action committee, will run statewide on broadcast and cable television. RGA spokeswoman Amelia Chassé Alcivar described the ad buy to The Associated Press as in “the mid-six figures,” enough to run for several weeks.
With the pair of releases, the gubernatorial competition is intensifying, with an onslaught of advertising expected until Election Day on Oct. 12.
Edwards released his first statewide TV ad Monday, touting the state’s last two years of surpluses in contrast to the repeated financial gaps Louisiana faced during the tenure of his predecessor, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The RGA ad seeks to counter that message by juxtaposing Edwards’ support of tax hikes to balance the budget with the tax cuts championed by President Donald Trump. The GOP organization says the tax increases are chasing workers from Louisiana, citing recent population losses.
“While American workers get ahead, Louisiana gets left behind,” the television spot says. The narrator ads: “Higher taxes. Lost jobs. That’s John Bel Edwards.”
The ad doesn’t mention that the taxes passed since Edwards’ term began in 2016 won support from a majority-Republican Legislature.
And now Edwards is using the GOP’s television plans to solicit donations, in a campaign email saying “The RGA has zeroed in on Louisiana as a prime pickup opportunity, and they’re pulling out all the stops to take me down.”
The Deep South’s only Democratic governor faces two major GOP challengers trying to deny him a second term: U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, a doctor from Richland Parish, and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone, a longtime donor to conservative causes and first-time candidate.
The Edwards campaign says it intends to keep its ad on TV through Election Day. Alcivar wouldn’t describe her organization’s plans.
“We don’t disclose the details of our strategy, but suffice it to say, we see the governor as extremely vulnerable and will be committing the resources necessary to ensure Louisianans know the truth about his record and that they can do better,” she said in an email.
Abraham and Rispone haven’t publicly released timelines for their own TV ad campaigns.
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