Ralph Abraham Just Lined Up Some Of Louisiana’s Biggest GOP Donors Today

A campaign announcement that just hit a few minutes ago is an item of potential significance in the governor’s race…

Today, Ralph Abraham announced his gubernatorial campaign finance committee. The finance committee is made up of a wide variety of influencers and business leaders from every corner of the state.

“We believe that Ralph Abraham is the best choice to serve as the next Governor of the State of Louisiana and will work to ensure his campaign has the financial resources necessary to beat John Bel Edwards.”  – Boysie Bollinger, Abraham Finance Committee Chairman.

“I’m excited about the announcement of our Statewide Finance Committee,” said Ralph Abraham, the leading Republican candidate for Governor of Louisiana. “Our momentum is growing, and this puts us on an equal financial playing field with John Bel. Louisianians are sick of watching this state lose. They are ready for change and a leader that will put Louisiana Families First. That’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

The campaign finance committee is generally speaking the collection of donors and bundlers who’ll be carrying much of the fundraising load – not just writing checks but getting others to do so. Abraham’s campaign released the list…

  • (Chairman) Boysie Bollinger, Metairie – Bollinger Enterprises, LLC, Chairman & CEO
  • (Co-Chairman) Joseph “Joe” Canizaro, New Orleans, – First Trust Corporation, Chairman
  • Scott Ballard, Covington –  Ballard Hospitality, LLC, Owner
  • Jonathan Bruser, Baton Rouge – MMR Group, Inc., Senior Vice President & Principal
  • D. Wayne Elmore, Lafayette – Mello Joy Coffee, Owner & CEO
  • Steve Jordan, Lake Charles – Central Crude, Chairman & CEO
  • The Honorable Jim McCrery, Shreveport – Capitol Counsel LLC, Partner
  • James W. Moore Jr., Monroe – Moore Investments, Owner
  • Tom O’Neal, Ruston – Hercules Transport/O’Nealgas Inc., President
  • Dennis Pasentine, Mandeville

There are some interesting names on that list, obviously. Bollinger and Canizaro frequently team up and pick favored candidates together, and they’ve done so in this case. As an indication of what that means, since the beginning of June last year Canizaro has given just under $200,000 in federal elections to Republican candidates, while Bollinger gave more than that – $218,000 – in the same period. And in state races Canizaro has spread around $84,000 since last June, including $10,000 to Abraham’s Republican challenger Eddie Rispone and another $5,000 to John Bel Edwards; his coming aboard Abraham’s camp means he’ll have donated to all three major candidates in the race, but if he’s not just writing a check but serving as a co-chairman of the campaign’s finance committee he’ll be soliciting money from Abraham.

Bollinger, likewise, has given to all three major candidates – including 10K to Edwards in April and 5K to Abraham and Rispone earlier this year. Since June 1 of last year he’s come across with a little over $150,000 in state races.


To say that these two guys are major players in Louisiana politics from a money standpoint is grossly insufficient. They’re whales.

Bruser is also an interesting name on the list, given that he’s with MMR, the company where Rispone worked before launching his own industrial construction firm. Ballard is a former member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, appointed by Bobby Jindal, as are Moore and McCrery. Pasentine is also a political player of sorts; his company is Florida Marine Transport, which operates towboats and barges all over Louisiana and beyond and he’s a frequent GOP donor in federal and state elections.

None of this necessarily means that the public perception of Abraham’s campaign – which holds, accurately based on campaign finance reports to date (he had just over $1 million on hand in the April filing), that he’s by far the short stack of the three, given Rispone’s $10 million in a largely self-funded war chest and Edwards’ similar figure having sucked in Democrat money from all over the country. But what it does mean is he now has some of the people he’ll need to catch up to the other two.

But it’s still a long way to go, and while observers are waiting on Abraham to collect the money he needs to beat Edwards they’re waiting on Rispone to spend his. All we really know is someone will be in the runoff with Edwards and that someone will be the favorite to win in a red state.



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