BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republicans challenging Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards couldn’t match the Democrat’s fundraising pace as they ready for final advertising blitzes ahead of the Oct. 12 election, but GOP businessman Eddie Rispone is using his own money to reach Edwards’ spending levels.
The Deep South’s only Democratic governor raised more than $1.6 million in the latest fundraising period from July 5 through Sept. 2.
U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham brought in $761,000 for his governor’s bid and Rispone drew $147,000 from donors, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed Thursday night with the state ethics administration office.
Rispone, however, continued to pour his own money into the campaign to maintain a similar pace of spending as Edwards. A wealthy owner of an industrial contracting company, Rispone added another $1.5 million to boost his personal loans to the campaign to $11.5 million.
HOW MUCH RAISED AND SPENT?
For the final advertising stretch, Edwards reported $5.7 million in his campaign account, while Abraham had $1.4 million in the bank and Rispone had $6.3 million available.
The candidates have raised more than $18 million from donors for the race, with Edwards bringing in $14 million of that for his campaign as he fundraised across four years in office. Abraham’s drawn $2.7 million in donations, while Rispone’s campaign has seen $1.5 million contributed outside of his own personal loans.
Both Abraham and Rispone are trying to keep Edwards from winning outright in October and forcing him into a head-to-head matchup in November. If no candidate tops 50% of the vote, the race heads to a Nov. 16 runoff.
Rispone has focused less on fundraising, largely self-financing his campaign effort. He’s seeking to leapfrog Abraham by outspending him, blanketing the airwaves with advertising while Abraham has less money to spend.
The three main contenders have spent $16 million on the governor’s race so far, with Edwards accounting for half of the spending and Rispone for $6.9 million. By comparison, Abraham has spent $1.3 million.
Three other candidates are in the competition, but they’ve done little fundraising and spent significantly less on the race.
Political action committees have been raising and spending money on attack ads in the governor’s race.
The pro-Edwards Gumbo PAC spent $1.8 million in the latest cycle, largely to attack both of Edwards’ main GOP competitors. Most of the organization’s money is coming from the Democratic Governors Association.
The Republican Governors Association, which has focused its efforts on slamming Edwards’ performance in office, also spent $1.8 million during the period.
A pro-Abraham PAC called Securing Louisiana’s Future spent $198,000.
OTHER STATEWIDE RACES
Six other Republican statewide officials are running for reelection on the ballot: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Attorney General Jeff Landry, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, Treasurer John Schroder, Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.
Nearly all of them are sitting on much larger war chests than their competitors for the final weeks of the campaign. Landry reported the largest amount in the bank, $1.9 million. His Democratic opponent Ike Jackson reported about $500 in his campaign account.