Former Gov. Edwin Edwards was in full attack mode today during his appearance at the Baton Rouge Press Club, taking full advantage of the absence of his Republican challenger in the 6th Congressional District runoff, Garret Graves. Edwards charged, among other things, that Graves wrongfully attempted to undermine a New Orleans area levee board lawsuit against oil and gas companies, contracted with his father’s engineering firm for state work while leading Louisiana’s coastal policy department, and did not graduate from college.
The meeting was intended to be a forum for a debate between the candidates, but Graves declined to attend or to send a representative. The candidates are scheduled to face each other in a debate held by the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday in Denham Springs.
Edwards accused Graves of unethically awarding his father’s firm, Evans-Graves Engineering, over $130 million worth of contracts with the state while he was the state’s coastal adviser. According to Edwards, Graves also played a role in securing a job for his brother-in-law, Randy White, as a leasing agent for offices in the proposed Water Campus, which will also house the agency Graves once led. White works for Corporate Realty, which is managing leasing for the offices.
“It’s very correct in saying [Graves] is a family man,” Edwards quipped.
Edwards also insisted that Graves has not graduated from college. Graves’ campaign did not return calls or emails for comment on Edwards’ accusations before this afternoon’s deadline.
“If you’re going to have an illegitimate person in Congress,” Edwards said, referring to his years in federal prison on corruption charges, “he might as well have an education.”
Edwards also criticized Graves for too-lofty campaign promises and not addressing issues that matter to voters. Edwards said his top priority is to convene a meeting of officials to address the district’s traffic problems. —Kelly Connelly
Editor’s note: This story has been changed since its original publication. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Randy White works for Commercial Property Realty Trust. White works for Corporate Realty. Daily Report regrets the error.