BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham jumped into the Louisiana governor’s race Thursday, becoming the second Republican to announce he’ll challenge Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards in the 2019 election and ensuring a fractured GOP field.
Abraham hopes his quick decision upon Kennedy’s exit will keep other possible Republican contenders away from the race and rally GOP support for him.
“I’m running for governor, and I intend to win,” Abraham said in a brief statement announcing that he’ll have an official campaign launch early next year.
A family medicine doctor from rural northeast Louisiana, Abraham joins wealthy Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone as the Republican contenders vying to keep Edwards from a second term.
Abraham, 64, had long been eyeing the governor’s race but faced difficult odds to gain traction if Kennedy, a prominent and popular Republican politician, had decided to run for the job.
Edwards questioned how Abraham could represent his U.S. House district while making a gubernatorial bid, noting that on Monday, Abraham issued a statement talking about the many issues still facing him in Congress.
In Congress, Abraham has been a reliable Republican vote, supporting the policies of President Donald Trump and seeking to repeal former President Barack Obama’s federal health overhaul.
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