Abraham’s Endorsement Train Keeps Chugging Along, Including Landing LOGA

It’s been a really busy week for Ralph Abraham’s campaign even as he finds himself blistered on the airwaves with attack ads from both the Democrat/trial lawyer/sleazeball cretins at Gumbo PAC and his fellow Republican candidate Eddie Rispone.

Abraham keeps lining up support from conservative and business groups as well as Republican parish executive committees across the state.

Just a few minutes ago, the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association’s political action committee endorsed Abraham, as well as all of the other incumbent statewide elected officials running for re-election save for Insurance Commissioner, where Jim Donelon is in a tough race with fellow Republican Tim Temple. The LOGA endorsement was one Rispone badly wanted, but couldn’t get.

Today, the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association Political Action Committee (LOGPAC) endorsed Ralph Abraham in the race for governor and announced its support of other statewide candidates and elected officials seeking office this year.

“The Louisiana Oil and Gas Political Action Committee is pleased to endorse Congressman Ralph Abraham in the race for governor,” said Gifford Briggs, Executive Director of LOGPAC. “From lawsuits, to taxes and regulations, the energy industry is facing serious challenges that must be immediately addressed to bring jobs, investments and opportunities back to Louisiana. Far too many of our workers and families have been hurting for far too long. We believe Congressman Abraham understands these challenges and will provide the strong leadership that’s necessary to revitalize Louisiana’s energy industry.”

At an election rally in Lafayette today, LOGPAC also endorsed the following candidates/elected officials:

Lieutenant Governor: Billy Nungesser
Secretary of State: Kyle Ardoin
Attorney General: Jeff Landry
Treasurer: John M. Schroder
Supreme Court: Judge Will Crain

“Louisiana oil and gas fuels our economy and our environment,” Briggs said. “Our industry supports over 260,000 jobs and contributes more than $2 billion in taxes, all while playing a leading role in providing much needed funds for restoration and hurricane protection projects to
strengthen our coast. But we are facing serious challenges that are detrimental to current and future growth—and it is more important than ever that citizens across the state engage in the election process and demand policies that will bring our jobs and families back to Louisiana. We
are proud to endorse these candidates who will fight for a robust oil and gas industry and a better Louisiana for generations to come.”

For a complete list of LOGPAC endorsements, including legislative and local candidates, please visit: GeauxElections.com.

The LOGA endorsement came following a slew of RPEC endorsements Abraham announced Monday and Tuesday. Among those were Parish Executive Committees in Ascension, Winn, Webster and Caddo Parishes, plus a co-endorsement (with Rispone) in Calcasieu Parish that we understand is somewhat in flux – that PEC might vote to drop the co-endorsement in the face of dissatisfaction with Rispone’s attack ads.

And then there was the endorsement of the Baton Rouge Business Report, as publisher Rolfe McCollister laid out a substantial case for a Republican governor to succeed John Bel Edwards…

Congressman Ralph Abraham is a physician, farmer, businessman, pilot and veterinarian and served in Army National Guard, which is unique and impressive. Yet, he is probably most proud of being a dad, grandfather and husband. He life is invested in Louisiana. It’s his humility, integrity, values and commitment to his family—and ours—that makes him so admired and respected. His is a life of service to others and that’s what has made him a success. And his next role should be Louisiana governor.

Let me share some numbers regarding the performance of incumbent, Gov. John Bel Edwards, which makes it abundantly clear why it is critical to replace our Democratic governor with such a distinguished Republican congressman, Ralph Abraham.

1) We are now No. 1 in poverty.

Recent Census Bureau data shows that while the U.S. poverty rate is declining, it’s ticking higher in Louisiana, which now has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according to the two- and three-year averages cited in the report.

The national poverty rate is at its lowest level since 2001, sitting at 12% for the 2017-18 two-year period, down from 13.1% the two years prior. In Louisiana, though, poverty increased to 19.8%, rising 0.4% compared to the two years prior.

2) We are the only state to lose jobs.

The Bureau of Labor statistics recently released its seasonally adjusted numbers, showing Louisiana lost 1,000 jobs over the 12-month period—the only state in the nation to lose jobs.

3) Louisiana ranks 50th.

The headline in The Advocate read, “Louisiana dead last for 3rd straight year in ‘Best States’ list; Edwards: rankings inaccurate.” U.S. News & World Report ranks states, measuring “outcomes for citizens using more than 70 metrics” and “thousands of data points.” We are last.

4) Louisiana is one of only nine states to lose population. Edwards keeps repeating “right direction” but you tell me. From 2017 to 2018, Louisiana had a net loss of population—the fourth largest, with 27,914 people moving to other states. An online post—following the governor’s changes to ITEP—by Baton Rouge expat Branon Pesnell, now doing real estate in Houston, drives the point: “I am one of the 55,000 who moved out of the state (2016-2018) partly because of this type of short-sighted thinking. Decisions like this will have long-term impact on Louisiana’s ability to recruit and keep business. The door is open in Texas, come on in!”

[b]5) Taxes up.

We have all seen the video of Edwards saying during the 2015 debates, “No,” when asked if he would raise taxes on individuals or businesses—and he did both. Our sales taxes are among the highest in the nation (second-highest).

6) Graduation rates up despite governor.

There are some numbers for the state that have improved, like the K-12 graduation rate thanks to the leadership, vision and tenacity of state superintendent John White. But Edwards put that at risk. He would rather be a “partner” with teachers’ unions, not with parents and children hoping for their graduation day.

Four years ago, speaking to the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, Edwards said, “You’re going to have a partner in the governor’s office.” He also told them he wanted to get rid of White.

In the campaign he stated, “I have no intention of allowing John White, who isn’t qualified to be a middle school principal, to remain as superintendent when I am governor.”

But in 2018, The Advocate headline read, “Decade-long effort pays off: Louisiana public high school graduation rate reaches 81 percent.” Louisiana’s rate-gain outpaced the nation since 2012—9.1 percentage points, compared to 4.6 percentage points nationally. In addition, the graduation rate for black students in the state exceeded the national average for the first time—over 78%. This all happened under White, maybe the best state superintendent in America—and the man Edwards wants to fire. What poor judgment this displays. It appears Edwards’ loyalty to teachers’ unions and their past support is stronger than that for educating Louisiana’s children.

The six points mentioned above make it clear to me that our state is not moving in the right direction no matter how many times the governor repeats that line or runs a commercial. Obviously, a balanced budget or even a surplus does not cure all these ills or fix our rankings. It takes leadership and working with the Legislature and Edwards has had a rough time. With a more conservative House and Senate expected after this election, Edwards, if re-elected, would have even a harder time in governing. And this election won’t just impact the next four years, but the next 10 as the redistricting process for all officials happens during the upcoming gubernatorial term.

There is much a stake with this election and we need a steady hand that can truly take Louisiana. in the right direction. That’s why I will vote for Ralph Abraham.

The Business Report’s endorsement in and of itself doesn’t carry all that much heft; after all, McCollister endorsed Sharon Weston Broome over Bodi White for mayor-president of Baton Rouge in 2016, which made no sense whatsoever. Still, with Baton Rouge somewhat bleak territory for Abraham compared to other markets around the state the Business Report endorsement, together with PEC endorsements in Ascension and Livingston Parish (that one happened last week), things aren’t as bad as they might seem for Abraham in the capital area.

Rispone’s camp has a poll, which we haven’t seen the numbers and crosstabs from, which supposedly has him with 22 percent and Abraham with 14; that’s a ludicrous result in comparison with others, as it would indicate Abraham lost 10 points in the space of a week solely from attack ads alleging some pretty mundane stuff. But there aren’t any public polls out since the Louisiana Association of Health Plans survey by JMC Analytics showed Rispone with a 21-18 lead on Abraham and Edwards at 46 percent; that poll was criticized fairly heavily by some in that it didn’t contain a likely voter screen, something which seems like it would be necessary to have this late in a race.

It’s what individual voters do that matters, no Rolfe McCollister or LOGA or RPEC’s in parishes around the state. But the cumulative effect of these pledges of support, one would expect, would be that Abraham is building a statewide organization of supporters with some institutional and perhaps corporate backing (if LOGA’s members get the word out to their employees that the association is backing Abraham it could help get the vote out for him among those folks, for example), and the resulting ground game might give him some hidden support due to a better turnout operation.

That remains to be seen. But it’s better to have these endorsements than not to. And that makes today a good day for Team Abraham.

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