BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican Ralph Abraham is jumping into the TV ad fray in the Louisiana governor’s race, with his campaign announcing Monday it was locking in $2 million in advertising time and will start running his first campaign spot next week.
Abraham political consultant Lionel Rainey said the third-term congressman’s introductory TV ad to voters will start airing Aug. 12, weeks after Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and GOP challenger Eddie Rispone began airing their TV spots.
“We’ll be up statewide on cable, and we’ll be up in multiple markets on broadcast, and we’ll be adding markets as we get closer to Election Day,” Rainey told The Associated Press.
Abraham’s preliminary ad buys total a little more than $2 million, Rainey said. He said the campaign will “be adding to that significantly as we get closer to the election.”
Abraham, a doctor from Richland Parish, is trying to combat the perception that he can’t compete with Edwards and Rispone. Abraham’s campaign bank account lags his competitors’ financing.
Edwards has raised millions for his campaign over his four-year term, maintains the power of incumbency and doesn’t have an intraparty fight in the race. Rispone is a wealthy Baton Rouge businessman who has poured $10 million of his own cash into the campaign and committed to spending at least $5 million on TV ads in the race.
Edwards started TV advertising for his re-election bid on July 8. He released his latest spot Monday, featuring his wife Donna, a former public school teacher, talking about increased state spending on education this year, including statewide teacher pay raises.
Rispone launched his TV spots on July 23. His strategy appears to involve outspending and freezing out Abraham by blanketing the airwaves until the Oct. 12 election.
Both Edwards’ and Rispone’s campaigns have said the candidates would stay on television without interruption until Election Day.
Though the last finance disclosures filed with Louisiana’s ethics administration office in July showed Abraham had $1.3 million cash on hand, Rainey said the campaign has enough money to cover the $2 million ad buy.
“The campaign finance team that we put together has been working overdrive to raise money for us,” Rainey said.