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Edwin Edwards running for U.S. House seat in Louisiana

The former governor, who served eight years in prison for corruption, is attempting a comeback at age 86

♦By Rich Shumate,

louisiana mugBATON ROUGE, Louisiana (CFP) — Edwin Edwards, the colorful and controversial former Louisiana governor, will attempt a political comeback by seeking the state’s 6th District U.S. House seat.

Edwards, 86, a Democrat who served eight years in federal prison on corruption charges, announced his run March 17 during an appearance at the Baton Rouge Press Club.

House hopeful Edwin Edwards

House hopeful Edwin Edwards

“I’m positive I can run, and I’m confident I can win,” said Edwards, who was accompanied by his wife, Trina — 51 years his junior — and their 1-year-old son.

Edwards said he did not think his run would be an embarrassment to Louisiana.

“It might be something the state should be proud of because forgiveness, understanding and second chances are important in life and in politics,” he said.

Edwards is seeking the House seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. The district takes in parts of nine parishes in and around Baton Rouge.

Edwards told reporters that he had considered challenging Landrieu before deciding on the House race. As a convicted felon, Louisiana law bars him for running for a statewide office.

The district is heavily Republican, giving Mitt Romney 67 percent of the vote in 2012. However, with 10 Republicans in the race, Edwards has a good shot at making it through the state’s jungle primary, where candidates from all parties run in the same race and the two top vote getters advance to a runoff.

Edwards served a record four terms as Louisiana’s governor between 1972 and 1996. In 1991, after being acquitted of federal corruption charges, he won a runoff against white supremacist David Duke. During that campaign, a popular bumper sticker urged Louisianians to “Vote For the Crook. It’s Important.”

In 2001, Edwards was convicted on 17 counts of bribery, extortion, fraud and racketeering stemming from his last term as governor. Among the charges was that he took $400,000 from former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo for help him secure a casino license.

Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Edwards was released in 2011 after serving eight years. Less than a month later, he married Trina Edwards, who had been a prison pen pal. The couple starred in a reality television show, The Governor’s Wife, which aired on the A&E cable network in 2013.

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