What to expect from Thursday’s gubernatorial debate

LA Gov Debate

BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC Local 33) (FOX 44) — The first debate for the Louisiana’s Governor’s race will offer an initial glimpse at a narrowed-down primary field.

The debate will be hosted and televised statewide by Nexstar Media Group in collaboration with the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. It’s set for 7 p.m. CT before a live audience at LSU’s Union Theatre in Baton Rouge. 

LIVE BLOG: Live Blog: Stage set for gubernatorial candidates to spar

Political strategist John Couvillon says the most anticipated aspect of the match-up may be how Governor John Bel Edwards withstands attacks from his Republican opponents.

“Governor Edwards will definitely be attacked by both Republicans for his record and of course, Governor Edwards will have to appropriately defend it,” said Couvillon.

Edwards is expected to stand by his record amid critiques about government spending levels, tax increases and criminal sentencing law changes that he supported.

The main contrast between the two Republican challengers, Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone meanwhile, may come down to exactly how they go after Edwards.

“Ralph Abraham’s challenge is to make himself look like the dominant Republican and the acceptable alternative to Governor Edwards,” said Couvillon.

Their approaches will highlight how each Republican would run against Edwards in a general election.

“For Eddie Rispone, since this is the first time he’s been on a statewide stage, he will have to, of course, learn to do the appropriate bobbing and weaving that is characteristic of these debates,” said Couvillon.

Higher thresholds for polling and fundraising cut the list of candidates who made the stage to three, leaving several others still hoping for a breakthrough moment.

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