Editor’s Note: A guest post by Rep. Paul Hollis (R-Mandeville), who has endorsed Ralph Abraham for Governor.
After three and a half disastrous years under John Bel Edwards, this election should ours for the taking. There’s only one way John Bel can get a second term: if we shoot ourselves in the foot. Unfortunately, too many Republicans aren’t getting this message.
After pledging to follow Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment for months, last week, Eddie Rispone’s campaign began attacking Ralph Abraham with a vicious negative attack ad.
It’s one thing to go negative. It’s another to tell outright distortions about a fellow Republican. And it’s even worse to parrot false talking points from John Bel’s Gumbo PAC. That’s exactly what this campaign ad from Eddie Rispone is doing.
Here’s a brief summary of everything that’s downright wrong with the ad:
Rispone False Claim #1: Ralph Abraham said he would donate his congressional salary to charity, but he lied, and bought himself a new airplane instead.
The Truth: This distortion comes straight from John Bel Edwards’ trial lawyer-funded Gumbo PAC. As a recent KTBS Fact Check documented, Abraham did donate his first term’s salary to charity. Abraham declined to make the same promise while running for his second term because Congressional ethics rules prevented earning an income as a part-time practicing physician. However, Abraham has continued to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity in the ensuing years.
Rispone False Claim #2: Ralph Abraham (missed more votes) than any Congressman in America.
The Truth: During his first two terms, Ralph Abraham missed less votes than any other Louisiana member of Congress. Now that he’s campaigning for governor, Abraham has missed less votes than other members of Congress who have run in previous years.
Rispone False Claim #3: Ralph Abraham joined Nancy Pelosi to oppose a border wall.
The Truth: This attack gets everything backwards. Ironically, Rispone is attacking Abraham for actually opposing Democrat bills that granted amnesty to illegal immigrants and failed to adequately fund President Trump’s wall.
Rispone False Claim #4: Ralph Abraham called on President Trump to step down.
The Truth: Not only was Abraham one of the first Louisiana members of Congress to endorse President Trump, he’s been one of his strongest allies ever since. In Congress, Abraham voted with the President 96% of the time and he’s often defended him when few other Republicans have been willing to.
Rispone False Claim #5: Ralph Abraham voted with Nancy Pelosi over 300 times.
The Truth: These votes were all nonpartisan or minor votes like naming Post Offices. If Abraham should be faulted for voting with Pelosi on these trivial issues, then so should Rep. Mike Johnson, Rep. Garret Graves, Rep. Clay Higgins and Rep. Steve Scalise. All of these conservative Republicans voted with Pelosi more times or nearly as many times as Abraham did.
Just like in 2015, these attacks are playing right into John Bel Edwards’ hands. By attacking Ralph Abraham, Rispone’s campaign may direct more votes towards John Bel Edwards, boosting his chances of winning in the first round. We cannot allow that to happen.
Louisiana has a unique opportunity this election year. By electing a conservative governor with a conservative legislature, we can enact real change that will change the course of our state for decades to come.
A better future is on the horizon, but we can’t make the same mistakes that got us into this mess. Ralph Abraham has shown he’s serious about actually beating John Bel Edwards. We must get serious about it, too.
It’s time for Louisiana’s conservatives to reject these false attacks and unite behind Ralph Abraham before it’s too late.