Eddie Rispone, Louisiana's GOP gubernatorial candidate, made a brief campaign stop in Lake Charles on Monday to discuss his goals if elected. He also criticized Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards for radio ads that link Rispone to David Duke, a former state representative and well-known white supremacist.
Rispone's appearance outside the Million Air facility came two days ahead of President Donald Trump's scheduled Wednesday appearance in Monroe, which is aimed at getting Republican voters to the polls before the Nov. 16 runoff. Early voting began Nov. 2 and continues through Saturday, Nov. 9.
According to The Advocate, ads pushed by The Black Organization for Leadership Development PAC of New Orleans, or BOLD, link Rispone and Trump to Duke. Rispone slammed Edwards and the ads, saying they referred to him as a racist.
"I am furious about it," he said. "That is the farthest from the truth. This is what they will stoop to, folks. The first time when get in trouble, they're going to holler race, racism."
Edwards declined to comment to The Advocate on the ads during an interview on Monday. He said they were not paid for by his campaign.
Rispone said his main goals, if elected, include creating jobs, fixing lawsuit abuse and lowering the state's automobile insurance rates.
U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre, and newly-elected state Sen. Mark Abraham, R-Lake Charles, joined Rispone as he spoke with supporters.
"In 10 minutes, (Rispone) can fix a lot of problems Louisiana has," Higgins said. "This is the man who can help us bring jobs back and restore the economy of Louisiana."
Rispone criticized Edwards for going against the oil and gas industry and causing statewide job loss. He said he supports holding a constitutional convention to properly restructure parts of the state Constitution and wants to get rid of personal income tax in Louisiana.
Rispone voted early on Monday.
During the Oct. 12 primary election, Edwards received 47 percent of the vote. Rispone received 27 percent, while fellow GOP challenger U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham received 24 percent of the vote.