Edwin Edwards’ Last Moment in the Sun

When things get dull on Election Night next Tuesday, you can expect to hear a colorful report on 87-year-old former governor and federal prison inmate Ed Edwards running first in the Sixth Congressional District of Louisiana. He’s not going to win the majority required for election, of course, and his first-place standing will be largely attributable to a large GOP field in a reliably GOP district. But it will be great fun to watch the old reprobate greet his troops with a “victory” statement.

In a look at the race for the Times-Pic, Emily Lane tries pretty hard to get observers to say Edwards will actually have a chance in the December 3 runoff. And even that most cautiously calculating of observers, David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, suggests that if a particular Republican, far-right state Rep. Lenar Whitney (described by Wasserman in a July WaPo article as the “most frightening” congressional candidate he had interviewed in his seven years as a Cookie) were to make the runoff, Edwards would be “fairly competitive.”

In any event, you have to figure Edwards is enjoying the attention. And his runoff campaign, running alongside what will probably be a desperate survival effort by Sen. Mary Landrieu, could actually drive up public interest and turnout, especially if he’s opposite a raving wingnut like Whitney. And I suppose the improbable could happen in that case. Maybe Edwards should bring back that great bumper sticker slogan from his 1991 gubernatorial victory over David Duke: “Vote for the crook. It’s important.”

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.