While most of the U.S. political press was fixated on the U.S. Senate race in Louisiana, another contest ended and virtually no one cared about its conclusion.
The Sixth Congressional District race featured a contest between Republican Garret Graves and Democrat Edwin Edwards. Yes, that Edwin Edwards. The former governor and former prison inmate.
He once was the state’s governor and served also in Congress, representing the state’s Seventh District. Edwards also was, shall we say, one of the more colorful politicians ever to serve Louisiana, a state known for colorful pols. Huey Long might have written the book on political flamboyance, but ol’ Cajun Edwin wrote a chapter, maybe two, in that book.
Edwards wasn’t your run-of-the-mill character. He was proud of the trouble he kept finding. Edwards once said (reportedly) that the only way he’d ever lose an election was to be caught frolicking with a “dead girl or a live boy.” (Maybe it was the other way around, but you get the idea.) Another quote attributed to Edwards is that Louisianans “don’t expect their politicians to be crooked, they demand it of them.”
I had the pleasure of watching his 1991 campaign for Louisiana governor against Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, who was the Republican nominee that year. I attended a couple of political events in southwestern Louisiana back when I was working for the Beaumont Enterprise. Edwards crushed Duke that year in a landslide.
Seven years later, he was indicted and then convicted of several counts of racketeering, mail fraud, extortion and money laundering. He spent two years in a federal lockup in Fort Worth. Yeah, he’s a prince of a guy.
Well, he wanted back into public life. He’s 80-plus years old now, a bit past his prime, no doubt.
I was pulling for him to score an upset. If nothing else, the House of Representatives could use a little proverbial color in its ranks. Edwards would have provided it — and then some.