Sam Hanna Jr.

Hurricane Barry was a dud.

Up until this week, this year’s governor’s race in Louisiana was a big ‘ole dud, too.

That all changed with the Republican Governor’s Association unveiling a rather chippy TV commercial featuring Gov. John Bel Edwards and President Donald Trump. More specifically, the commercial compares the performance of the U.S. economy since Trump took the helm to the abysmal economic growth in Louisiana on Edwards’ watch. One must not be a thinking man to know there’s no comparison.

The RGA supposedly spent significant six figures on its new TV spot, which is scheduled to run statewide over the next two weeks. It undoubtedly represents a response to Edwards’ first TV commercial of his re-election campaign. In his commercial, Edwards turned back the clock and blamed his predecessor for the problems he says he inherited when he took office in January 2016, such as a budget deficit and more. For Edwards and his friends in the media, blaming Bobby Jindal for anything and everything never gets old.

Whether Edwards likes it or not, the economy is the most important issue in the governor’s race. While it’s commendable the state budget is balanced and producing modest surpluses, there’s no denying the budget is on sound footing because Edwards prodded a Republican-controlled Legislature into raising taxes, but that’s what you get when tax-and-spend liberals masquerade as Republicans in order to get elected to public office.

Meanwhile, the state’s economy — by and large — has treaded water since a downturn in the oil and gas industry beginning in 2014. The Lake Charles area is doing quite well thanks to the liquified natural gas industry and gambling, but that’s about it.

And for the first time since the early days of Jindal’s first term in office, we’re witnessing more people moving out of Louisiana compared to those who are moving here. Make no mistake, it’s because of the economy.

Yet, the RGA commercial truly captured what the Republicans should want this campaign to be about. That is, Republicans must nationalize this election and make it about Trump and Edwards.

That’s exactly what Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone — Edwards’ two Republican opponents — did when they joined Trump in denouncing the four radicalized female Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who make no effort to hide their hatred for the United States of America. Truth be known, they could easily pass for communists and terrorist-sympathizers.

For the first time in this campaign, Abraham and Rispone were on message this week. They can thank Donald Trump for guiding them.

Sam Hanna Jr. can be reached by phone at 318-805-8158 or e-mail at samhannajr@samhannajr.com.

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