BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The leader of Louisiana's state House Republicans has endorsed U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham for governor, as the three-term congressman continues to stack up endorsements in the race from GOP officials.
Alexandria state Rep. Lance Harris, chairman of the House GOP delegation, announced in a video that he's endorsing Abraham, rather than Republican contender Eddie Rispone. Abraham, a doctor from Richland Parish, and Rispone, a wealthy businessman from Baton Rouge, are running against Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards on the Oct. 12 ballot.
Harris cited Abraham's support for his failed bill to roll back the seven-year tax compromise struck by state lawmakers last year. Harris proposed an early phase-out of the 0.45% state sales tax that formed the compromise's centerpiece.
Edwards opposed the bill, and state senators killed it in May.
"That very afternoon, Ralph Abraham called me and said, 'Run it again. When I'm governor, I'll sign and pass that bill,'" Harris says in the video. "Ralph is a strong conservative. He's honest, and he has the guts to do what's right."
Opponents of the sales tax repeal said unraveling the tax deal early would destabilize Louisiana's budget and strip hundreds of millions of dollars from the treasury. Harris argued that recent surpluses show Louisiana taxes are too high and that Edwards and the majority-Republican Legislature passed more than are needed.
The Abraham campaign has announced more than 150 endorsements from elected officials around Louisiana, but Harris is among the most high-profile public officials to back the candidate. Harris has been a leader statewide in efforts to block Edwards' legislative agenda since the Democratic governor took office in 2016.