In La. governor’s race, Republican hopefuls court President Trump’s faithful

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) — As Republican Eddie Rispone seeks Louisiana’s governor’s mansion, his first 30-second TV ad of the 2019 race defends a higher executive house — and its policies.

“I support the president more than ever, against these liberal lunatics running now,” Rispone said in an advertisement that premiered in TV markets statewide Tuesday.

The Baton Rouge businessman voiced his support for President Donald Trump’s opposition to so-called “sanctuary city” protections for undocumented immigrants. While Louisiana currently has no federally defined sanctuary cities, Rispone’s message shows the push among Republicans in the governor’s race to court Trump supporters.

Shortly after the release of Rispone’s ad, Republican rival Rep. Ralph Abraham’s campaign made its case to the president’s faithful.

“Congressman Abraham has been President Trump’s go-to ally in Louisiana since before he got elected,” Abraham campaign manager told BRProud.com in a statement Tuesday. “He will continue to be as Governor of Louisiana.”

Whether the Republican contenders’ White House allegiances will help them in the Oct. 12 open primary against Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards remains unclear. Woody Jenkins, a former state representative who chairs the East Baton Rouge Republican Party, thinks Abraham and Rispone are smart to seek voters who gave Trump a majority in Louisiana in 2016.

“I think Trump is an asset for any candidate,” Jenkins said. “If he chooses to come in and support Ralph Abraham or Eddie Rispone, that would be a big plus for those candidates.”

But with both GOP hopefuls eyeing the same pro-Trump base, Republican pollster John Couvillon questions whether either candidate will lure swing voters.

“You’re not really gaining yourself any votes, because the other side’s doing the same thing,” Couvillon said. “In other words, Abraham and Rispone are locking themselves into a zero-sum game.”

Rispone’s “Stand with Trump” ad will air for two weeks on stations across Louisiana. Abraham’s team has yet to buy TV time, though an announcement could come soon.

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