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Sam Hanna Jr.: Rispone pressures Abraham

From: The Franklin Sun

Republican gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone has quashed any doubts that he would actually spend a sizable share of the more than $10 million of his own money that he’s already pumped into his campaign for governor.

Count me as one of those who doubted Rispone would pull the trigger and go big and spend big on his bid to unseat Gov. John Bel Edwards, but I stand corrected. Late last week, Rispone’s campaign made another media buy to air television commercials statewide. This time around, he aimed for football fans, notably those who tune in to ESPN and the NFL network. Then, earlier this week, Rispone went to hip city again and anted up $4 million more.

All in, Rispone has spent more than $5 million on paid media thus far in this governor’s race, and election day is still more than two months away. At this rate, there’s no telling how much money Rispone will spend by the time the polls close on Oct. 12. Needless to say, but it will be a big number.

In light of Rispone turning on the spigot, so to speak, we are left to wonder how all of this spending will affect the other Republican in the governor’s race, Congressman Ralph Abraham? It depends on a couple of factors.

Rispone’s TV commercials are right on the money message-wise, meaning Rispone has hit on all the right cords in serenading the voters he must have in his corner come election day. Those voters, of course, would be supporters of President Donald Trump.

Rispone’s delivery, though, leaves much to be desired. Politely stated, his high-pitched voice does him no favors, except possibly remind the electorate of the late Ross Perot.

But one observer’s opinion doesn’t mean much. Instead, Rispone’s pollster will determine before anyone else whether Rispone’s paid media is working, or moving voters in his direction. Yet, if Rispone sticks with the Trump message, Trump voters will become Rispone voters as long as they’re hearing his message on the boob tube or in one of those aggravating commercials that continuously pop up on just about every web site you visit online.

Meanwhile, with only slightly more than $1 million in his campaign kiddy, Abraham is powerless to match Rispone on the spending front. He wouldn’t be in this position if he had gambled earlier this year and gone on television with a media buy of his own to position himself as the Trump candidate in the race. He didn’t do it, and now he’s on the verge of being spent right out of the race.

If Abraham had sacrificed some of his money early on, he would have moved in the polls and a candidate who’s moving in the polls attracts contributors who wish to curry favor with a candidate who at least might be the next governor.

Unless something breaks in Abraham’s favor very soon, voters will soon be saying, “Ralph who?”