LAFAYETTE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his two main Republican challengers are set to spar in their second statewide TV debate, two days from the start of early voting.

The Deep South's only Democratic governor will square off with U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone on Thursday night in Lafayette.

The election is Oct. 12. The weeklong early voting period begins Saturday.

Polls show Edwards well ahead of his competitors, with Abraham and Rispone trying to keep him from outright victory in the primary. If Edwards doesn't top 50% of the vote, he'll face the second-place finisher in a Nov. 16 runoff, a two-man competition that could change the race's dynamics.

Thursday's TV debate is being hosted by Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for A Better Louisiana.

A new poll in the Louisiana governor's race shows a shakeup among the Republican candidates, with businessman Eddie Rispone surging ahead of Congressman Ralph Abraham as incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards moves closer to being able to win outright in the primary.

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