Second TV debate coming Thursday in Louisiana governor race

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks at the lectern as the Press Club of Baton Rouge hosts a forum for the three gubernatorial candidates Monday Sept. 23, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La. Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, faced his two Republican challengers, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, , right at table background, who has represented Louisiana’s fifth congressional district since 2015, and businessman Eddie Rispone, of Baton Rouge, left at table background. (Bill Feig/The Advocate via AP)

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his two main Republican challengers are set to spar in their second statewide TV debate, two days from the start of early voting.

The Deep South’s only Democratic governor will square off with U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone on Thursday night in Lafayette.

The election is Oct. 12. The weeklong early voting period begins Saturday.

Polls show Edwards well ahead of his competitors, with Abraham and Rispone trying to keep him from outright victory in the primary. If Edwards doesn’t top 50% of the vote, he’ll face the second-place finisher in a Nov. 16 runoff, a two-man competition that could change the race’s dynamics.

Thursday’s TV debate is being hosted by Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for A Better Louisiana.

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