EWE: I haven’t decided whether to run for Congress

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards Show caption
Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards

Social media lit up like a Christmas tree Wednesday after talk circulated of former Gov. Edwin Edwards launching his campaign for the 6th Congressional District.

There was only one problem, and it was big one. Edwards said the reports aren’t true — for now, at least.

“I’m looking at it, and we’ll see when I can make a determination one way or the other,” Edwards said by telephone.

The allegedly erroneous report that turned a sedate Wednesday into a minor media frenzy came from Bloomberg. Under the headline “Ex-Con Ex-Governor Running for Congress,” the report poked at the political skeletons in the state’s closet.

Recently convicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin got a mention as did U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s call girl ring-related problems. Edwards was characterized as the state’s most colorful politician since Huey P. Long.

Edwards was quoted as saying he was just figuring out how to set up a super PAC before launching his congressional campaign. Edwards might have been making a joke at Vitter’s expense.

A super PAC independent of Vitter, R-La., but supporting him currently is battling to accept unlimited campaign contributions to promote his gubernatorial bid. The super PAC took its fight to court Tuesday.

Reached Wednesday afternoon, a slightly irritated-sounding Edwards said he would not launch a congressional campaign by calling up a wire service reporter. The 86-year-old lives large. His life is filled with splashy moments. Edwards said any announcement will come before a media-packed audience.

Edwards insisted he is serious about a possible run for the 6th Congressional District. Edwards served in Congress before becoming Louisiana’s only four-term governor.

“I’m not going to go into it half-cocked,” he said.

The 6th Congressional District seat is up for grabs because U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is vacating it to run against U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. Among the candidates vying to succeed Cassidy are state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, businessman Paul Dietzel II, tax attorney Cassie Felder, retired Navy captain Bob Bell, Navy veteran Norman Clark and LaPlace real estate broker Richard Dean Lieberman. All but Lieberman are Republicans. Lieberman - like Edwards - is a Democrat.

Pollster Verne Kennedy did a survey of possible 6th District candidates a few weeks ago. Edwards was among the names vetted. The former governor’s good friend Bob D’Hemecourt said he promised to keep a lid on the poll results.

Since leaving the governor’s office in 1996, Edwards served time in prison for racketeering, promoted his authorized biography, married for a third time, welcomed his fifth child and participated in a reality television program. He and his wife, Trina, live in Gonzales with their infant son, Eli, and Trina Edwards’ sons from another marriage.