Comeback Kid

‘Vote for the Crook. It’s Important’: Edwin Edwards Wants Back in Congress

The 86-year-old Democrat is a Louisiana legend: three-term governor, ex-congressman, and witty acquitted criminal.

Kerry Maloney/AP

Edwin Edwards is an octogenarian ex-con and reality television star who brags that Viagra is made from his blood. He may also enter Congress next year.

Edwards served there 40 years ago and spent 16 years as the governor of Louisiana. While the 86-year-old Louisiana political legend has pushed back at a report from Al Hunt on Bloomberg that he definitely would run, he hasn’t ruled it out.

The seat that he’s targeting is a central Louisiana district that includes Baton Rouge and stretches down to grab both parts of Acadiana and some New Orleans suburbs. It is a deeply Republican district currently held by Bill Cassidy who is giving up the seat to run for Senate against incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu. Edwards insists, rightly so, “I’m the only hope the Democrats have here.”

If he runs, Edwards would focus national attention on the race. After all, he famously won his last election for Louisiana governor in 1991 against Klansman David Duke. Bumper stickers were plastered throughout the state saying, “Vote for the crook, it’s important.”

The former governor is very cognizant of his ethical shortcomings. After being acquitted in a 1985 criminal trial during his third term as governor, he quipped that a “jury of my peers” had judged him after it was revealed some of them had stolen towels from the hotel where they had been sequestered.

Edwards’s age, Democratic affiliation, and eight years in federal prison don’t make a potential race easy for him—as opposed to his 1983 election for governor where he famously said “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.” But if he returns to Capitol Hill, he won’t find many familiar faces from his last stint in Congress. There are only three members of the House were serving in that body when Edwards resigned in 1972, and he’ll be older than all but two current members of the House, Ralph Hall (R-TX) and John Dingell (D-MI). What’s more important is the age of his wife, Trina, who is 35. After all, Edwards has said: “I’m only as old as the woman I feel.”