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If you think the somewhat quiet midterm elections will mark the end of campaign rhetoric and personal attacks, think again.     

It’s only the beginning.

For all practical purposes, the end of the midterm election cycle will almost immediately kick-start the 2019 statewide elections, most notably the race for governor.

Republicans have been seeking a viable candidate for 2019 seemingly from the moment Gov. John Bel Edwards defeated U.S. Sen. David Vitter in 2015.

A litany of names has appeared on the radar, but thus far Baton Rouge Republican businessman Eddie Rispone is the only candidate who has said he will throw his hat in the ring.

Rispone is a newcomer who has told reporters he is willing to shell out plenty of cash to unseat Edwards, the only Democrat governor in the South and the first Democrat to be elected to a statewide office since 2008.

Two more Republicans -- U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and state Attorney General Jeff Landry -- have not made an official announcement, but have dropped steady hints they may run.

Kennedy, a former treasurer under Gov. Bobby Jindal and the current governor, has been critical of the Edwards tax plan, although he also lashed out frequently against Jindal for use of one-time money to pad the budget. His comments about the current administration have sounded very much like that of a likely candidate.

Perhaps little love is lost between Edwards and Kennedy, but the animosity runs far deeper between JBE and Landry, who have sparred frequently on issues ranging from Obamacare to capital punishment to LGBT rights. Landry has told reporters he knows he can beat Edwards.

It’s very unlikely the Democrats will field a candidate against Edwards from his own party. In the coming months, however, the GOP may see several hopefuls enter the race, which will make it more difficult to mount a strong campaign against JBE.

To make matters tougher for Republicans, JBE has garnered respect from some members of the GOP, largely because Edwards -- in numerous ways -- is not the dyed-in-the-wool left-wing Democrat. He’s neither a hardcore liberal or a staunch conservative. A budget surplus going into the election year does not hurt either.

We will hear a few rumblings between now and the end of 2018 but look for the rhetoric to heat up considerably after Jan. 1. The 2019 gubernatorial race could be one of the most heated in many years.

If you think the somewhat quiet midterm elections will mark the end of campaign rhetoric and personal attacks, think again.

It's only the beginning.

For all practical purposes, the end of the midterm election cycle will almost immediately kick-start the 2019 statewide elections, most notably the race for governor.

Republicans have been seeking a viable candidate for 2019 seemingly from the moment Gov. John Bel Edwards defeated U.S. Sen. David Vitter in 2015.

A litany of names has appeared on the radar, but thus far Baton Rouge Republican businessman Eddie Rispone is the only candidate who has said he will throw his hat in the ring.

Rispone is a newcomer who has told reporters he is willing to shell out plenty of cash to unseat Edwards, the only Democrat governor in the South and the first Democrat to be elected to a statewide office since 2008.

Two more prominent Republicans -- U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and state Attorney General Jeff Landry -- have not made an official decision, although neither has been subtle in their indications that they may run.

Kennedy, a former state treasurer who served under both Gov. Bobby Jindal and the current governor, has been critical of the Edwards tax plan, although he also lashed out frequently against Jindal for use of one-time money to pad the budget. His comments about the current administration have sounded very much like that of a likely candidate.

Perhaps little love is lost between Edwards and Kennedy, but the animosity runs far deeper between JBE and Landry, who have sparred frequently on issues ranging from Obamacare to capital punishment to LGBT rights. Landry has told reporters he knows he can beat Edwards.

Congressman Neil Abraham has also hinted he may make a run for governor, although he has not made any official announcement.

It's very unlikely the Democrats will field a candidate against Edwards from their own party. In the coming months, however, the GOP may see several hopefuls enter the race, which will make it more difficult to mount a strong campaign against JBE.

To make matters tougher for Republicans, JBE has garnered respect from some members of the GOP, largely because Edwards -- in numerous ways -- is not the dyed-in-the-wool left-wing Democrat. He's neither a hardcore liberal or a staunch conservative.

A budget surplus going into the election year does not hurt either for the sitting governor.

We will hear a few rumblings between now and the end of 2018 but look for the rhetoric to heat up considerably after Jan. 1. The 2019 gubernatorial race could be one of the most heated in many years.

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