Louisiana businessman Eddie Rispone, who is trailing in the Louisiana Republican gubernatorial primary, launched a television ad on Monday attacking GOP frontrunner Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA).
Rispone, who has poured more than $11.5 million into his mostly self-funded campaign, launched an attack ad against the Louisiana Republican. Rispone has remained at third place in the polls despite largely outspending Abraham in recent weeks.
In the attack ad, Rispone’s campaign accused Abraham of lying in a campaign promise to donate his congressional salary to charity and attacked him for allegedly missing votes while running for governor.
The Rispone campaign also called Abraham a “typical politician” and tried to link him to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Abraham dismissed Rispone’s attacks, calling them “baseless personal attacks,” which were not “true.”
“It’s sad that my Republican opponent felt like his only option was to create an ad full of baseless personal attacks that he knows aren’t true,” Abraham said Monday. “This is the literal playbook that allowed John Bel to be elected four years ago. I’m sure his out-of-state consultants told him that he was so far behind he had to do this to win, regardless of what it could mean for our state.”
Anthony Ramirez, a spokesman for Rispone’s campaign, claimed that despite his attack ad against Abraham, Rispone is the last candidate to go negative against his opponents.
“Between the two ads there is an attempt to show contrast between the two career politicians in this race,” Ramirez said.
Republicans have urged the candidates not to attack each other in the primary election, in which all candidates will appear on the same ballot on October 12. GOP figures fear a scenario similar to 2015, when Republicans attacked former Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) for a prostitution scandal before entering the general election, where current Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) defeated him.
Rispone’s attacks against Abraham could result in a similar situation given that Abraham has continued to remain the leader in the Louisiana gubernatorial primary. A recent poll found that Abraham leads Rispnoe by eight points.
Despite Republicans’ warning not to attack each other during the GOP primary, a mysterious blog post appeared in March, mirroring many of the same talking points made by Rispone’s television ad. This prompted Louisiana GOP officials to focus on attacking Edwards instead of each other.
Abraham said Monday that he will continue to fight to beat Edwards.
“We will continue to run a race aimed solely at John Bel, based on ideas and principles that are best for Louisiana. We will win this race, and we will turn this state around. Help is on the way,” Abraham said.