Former governor candidate drops bid to lead Louisiana GOP

Louisiana

FILE – In this Nov. 16, 2019, file photo, Louisiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone addresses supporters at his election night watch party at L’Auberge Casino and Hotel in Baton Rouge, La. Rispone, the businessman who ran unsuccessfully for Louisiana governor in 2019, said Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, that he was dropping his bid to unseat the current chairman of the state Republican Party, ending a heated intraparty feud over leadership. (AP Photo/Sophia Germer, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Eddie Rispone, the businessman who ran unsuccessfully for Louisiana governor in 2019, said Thursday that he was dropping his bid to unseat the current chairman of the state Republican Party, ending a heated intraparty feud over leadership.

“After further consideration, I have pending business and personal obligations and do not have the time necessary to spearhead the initiatives that I believe are necessary to help the State Republican Party reach its full potential,” Rispone said in an email sent to some members of the party’s governing body, the Republican State Central Committee.

After losing his effort to keep Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards from a second term, Rispone sought to reconfigure the Republican Party’s leadership, suggesting that GOP management flaws damaged his ability to win the governor’s race.

Last year, Rispone recruited several people who were newly elected to the GOP central committee after his spokesman Anthony Ramirez said they found that more than 40% of the committee’s members didn’t attend one of the panel’s meetings in 2019.

Rispone then launched a campaign to oust current state Republican Party Chairman Louis Gurvich, who was elected to the job in 2018. Gurvich replied to Rispone’s leadership challenge by saying that Rispone wouldn’t be able to unite Republicans.

After Rispone’s announcement Thursday that he was dropping out of the competition, Gurvich said in an email: “If Eddie has indeed withdrawn from the race, I wish him well and thank him for his efforts in building the LAGOP.”

The Republican State Central Committee meeting to elect party leadership is scheduled for Jan. 30.

Though he’s no longer seeking the leadership job, Rispone remains a committee member and said he “will still be involved.”

“I urge you to insist on the party being financially transparent, accountable and all-inclusive,” he wrote in his email.

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