How can Edwards run for Congress?

March 27, 2014


Fresh off probation, Edwin Edwards is making a big splash back in the real world.


Edwards is a former governor of Louisiana who served four sporadic four-year terms starting in 1972 and ending in 1996. Political scandals filled his time in the spotlight.


His transgressions began with allegedly receiving illegal campaign contributions in his first two elections — an allegation to which he replied: “it was illegal for them to give, not for me to receive” – and spanned through his terms to culminate in a 1998 indictment which landed him in prison from 2002 to 2011.


Now, a year after coming off probation, Edwards is ready to jump back into politics.


At a meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge on March 17, Edwards, announced his plans to run for U.S. Congress.


His decision has brought out the political sides of many of our Louisiana Facebook friends and has created a cause for disagreement among our staff.


On one side, Edwards has a reputation. Before going to prison, he was found guilty on 17 of the 26 counts he was charged with, including racketeering, extortion, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud.


But, as Edwards reminded on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” his conviction came after he served as governor.


“Not while I was governor,” he said. “But after I was governor. And there’s a big, big difference, and I think people in Louisiana realize that.”


Still, looking past the prison sentence, Edwards has made a name for himself in other ways.


His words of wit often leave a lasting impression. In the 1991 gubernatorial race against Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, Edwards said the only thing he shared in common with Duke was that they were “both wizards under the sheets.”


While those words may come across as offensive, they may help explain 86-year-old Edwards’ 35-year-old wife who co-starred with him in their now-canceled A&E television show “The Governor’s Wife.”


On the other hand, the people of Louisiana elected Edwards to four terms, so he has to have done some good. He helped solidify the two-party system in Louisiana and greatly expanded the state’s oil revenue.


So here is where our staff is split.


Some believe it is ridiculous that Edwards is making another run after going to prison, but others think his prison tenure makes him different from other politicians only in the fact that Edwards got caught. One of our staff members even believes Edwards’ previous transgressions make him more relatable to the general public. In his words, this is Louisiana. We’ve all sinned.


But whether we agree or disagree, Edwards is launching a massive campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. It may not be something we are all proud of, but hopefully it is more entertaining than his show.


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