The announcement was made by Congressman Ralph Abraham last night that he will be running for Governor in the 2019 election.

Earlier this week, Congressman Abraham said that he would not seek the post because of his many responsibilities to the people of the 5th Congressional District.

Last night he announced that he has changed his mind.

The decision has been met with scorn by Governor John Bel Edwards.

Below is the press release and statement that the Governor sent out this morning in response to Abraham's decision:

"On Monday, Representative Abraham said he couldn’t launch a campaign for governor because it would distract him from important work on the farm bill, soy bean crisis, looming government shutdown, flood insurance expiration and other issues the people of Louisiana have entrusted him to handle on their behalf. None of those issues have been resolved. Now, just a few days later, he’s abandoning those responsibilities along with the congressional office he was re-elected to exactly one month ago. For the sake of the people of Louisiana, it is my hope that he seriously considers whether or not he is capable of running for governor while fulfilling his duties in Washington, DC.
 
“I welcome this debate. I've got a consistent record of working across the aisle to get things done for Louisiana. Together, we've turned a $2 billion budget deficit into a budget surplus. Last year, we reduced the tax burden on the people of Louisiana by $600 million. Our economy is the 12th fastest growing in the country. More people are working in Louisiana than ever before. And we are securing the largest economic development projects in our state’s history. The state and our people are much better off now than they were three years ago, and I look forward to another 5 years of putting the people of Louisiana first.”
 
Under Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration:

  • Gov. Edwards brokered a bipartisan agreement that provided long-term budget stability to the state of Louisiana. The plan stabilized funding for higher education, fully funded TOPS and Go Grants.
    • “After years of living fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis, the state finally has budget stability and an improving credit outlook.” [Associated Press, 6/25/18]
       
  • The state has attracted the largest economic development deals in its history, most recently with the announcement from DXC Technology in New Orleans that the company plans to bring more than 2,000 good-paying jobs to the region. 
    • The state’s economy continues to grow with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the second quarter of 2018 the 12th fastest in the country. [Baton Rouge Business Report, 11/14/18]
       
  • Gov. Edwards lead a bipartisan effort to pass historic criminal justice reforms in the state.  These changes were supported by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, as well as the business community and religious organizations from across the political spectrum. Today, the state of Louisiana is no longer the incarceration capital of the world, a title it held for more than 40 years.
    • “…the passage of the sprawling 10-bill incarceration package may prove more consequential. It is the boldest change of direction for Louisiana since the reform of New Orleans public schools after Hurricane Katrina.” [The Advocate, 6/7/17]
       
  • The decision to expand Medicaid to provide health care to the working people of Louisianahas helped provide health insurance to more than 480,000 Louisianans, supported 19,000 jobs, and generated $3.5 billion in economic activity. [Times Picayune | NOLA.com, 4/10/18]
     
  • Thanks to the Medicaid expansion, the uninsured rate has dropped “dramatically” – cut in half over the last three years for adults.
    • “The Louisiana Health Insurance Survey released Monday found 11.4 percent of non-elderly adults in the state did not have health insurance in 2017 – down from 22.7 percent uninsured in 2015.” [The Advocate, 8/20/18]

 

BACKGROUND ON REP. ABRAHAM BREAKING HIS PLEDGE TO FOCUS ON HIS JOB

 
Dec. 3: Abraham Responded To Kennedy Not Running By Saying “There Are Several Must-Pass Bills Facing Congress In The Next Two Weeks, And My Focus Right Now Is On My Job.” “Meanwhile, Abraham, a Republican from Alto, said Monday his final decision will be coming "very soon." “Louisiana needs a strong leader who can take on the challenges we face, and our great state just isn’t getting that with the current governor," said Abraham, 64. "There are several must-pass bills facing Congress in the next two weeks, and my focus right now is on my job.”” [The Advocate, 12/3/18]
 

  • The Only Bills To Pass Congress Between Dec. 3 And Dec. 6 Were Three Bills Related To The Remembrance Services For President George H.W. Bush. [Congress.Gov, accessed 12/5/18]

 
Nov. 30: Abraham Said He Wouldn’t Run Until Congress Adjourned, Saying “We Have Two Weeks Left In The Majority And I Hope To Do What I Was Elected To Do Until I Shift To Campaign Mode.” “He said it wouldn't be fair to his current constituents to shift his focus before Congress adjourns. Democrats take over the majority from Republicans in the new Congress that begins next year after winning enough seats in the mid-term elections to flip the House. "I want to stress that in the next two weeks while we hold the majority I'm going to be on top of the job I was elected to do," Abraham said. "We have two weeks left in the majority and I hope to do what I was elected to do until I shift to campaign mode."” [Monroe News Star, 11/29/18]
 

  • Congress Isn’t Expected To Adjourn Until December 21.“Congressional leaders and White House officials agreed Monday to extend a government funding deadline by two weeks, until Dec. 21, setting up the possibility of a shutdown showdown just ahead of Christmas.” [Washington Post, 12/3/18]

Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone is the only other officially announced candidate for the race.