Gov. John Bel Edwards’ latest campaign ad features parade of Republicans, including John Alario

3 months ago The Advocate 0

Gov. John Bel Edwards is launching a new TV ad that features praise from six Republicans, including Senate President John Alario and another GOP state senator.

The Republicans take turns touting how Edwards worked with the Republican-majority Legislature to turn a $2 billion budget deficit, inherited from former Gov. Bobby Jindal, into a surplus.

“Working with Gov. Edwards to solve the budget crisis, we saw how truly bipartisan he is,” Richard Zuschlag, chairman of Acadiana Ambulance, said.

“He brought members of both parties together, to make the hard decisions,” said state Sen. Blade Morrish, of Jennings, who is leaving office because of term limits.

The 30-second spot echoes a key talking point of Edwards’ on the campaign trail: that he has worked with Republicans (and Democrats) to put Louisiana first.

That point is especially important for Edwards because he is a Democrat in a state that has turned Republican over the last decade.

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He is facing two Republican challengers, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone, in the Oct. 12 primary. The two men are battling both to finish ahead of the other to place second to Edwards and to keep him from winning less than 50% to force him into a runoff.

Besides Alario, Morrish and Zuschlag, the other three Republicans in the ad are Halley Pellegrin, a third grade math teacher in Terrebonne Parish; Richard Lipsey, founder of Lipsey’s, a sporting goods and firearms distributor based in Baton Rouge; and Bill Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Century Next Bank based in Ruston.

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Including Alario in the ad is sure to inflame conservatives. Leaving the Legislature after 48 years because of term limits, he is a favorite punching bag of conservatives because he used his mastery of legislative affairs to help Edwards raise sales taxes to end the budget deficit, to increase spending on education and to give teachers a pay raise and to make it easier for non-violent offenders to win early release.

Morrish was asked whether he expected blow back from Republicans.

“I don’t care,” he replied. “If you remember, I was a big supporter when I was a Democrat of the second (President) George Bush. I got a lot of blow back. I was censured by the Democratic Party. I don’t think the Democratic Party likes me, and I don’t think the Republican Party likes me. That probably puts me in pretty good shape.”

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