‘LaPolitics’: GOP working to replace Graves in 6th District

U.S. Rep. Garret Graves. (AP)

Congressman Garret Graves isn’t letting up on the gas following his announcement that he will not run for reelection after all in the redrawn 6th District.

But who will replace Graves in the delegation?

State Senate and Governmental Affairs Chair Cleo Fields remains the betting favorite to return to Congress three decades after the courts threw out his old district. 

Meanwhile, with only a month to go before qualifying, Republicans are scrambling to find a contender. State GOP Chair Derek Babcock hopes to identify a standard-bearer by next week.

He thinks a Republican can win the district, which on paper heavily favors Democrats, in part because he expects Republicans will be more motivated for the presidential election in November. 

Babcock says candidate prospects he has spoken with raise two main concerns.

One is the ability to raise money, which he assures them the party will help them do, adding that he thinks a viable candidate would need to raise $2 million to $4 million. 

The second involves the incumbent, who is not expected to get involved in the upcoming race in any way. 

“I’ve been asked by a couple people, ‘If I run now, and I win, am I just going to run against Garret Graves in two years?’” Babcock says. “That creates a challenge for us, because I just don’t know.” 

Given the demographics of the new Black-majority district anchored by Baton Rouge, how might a Black Republican fare?

Former state Sen. Elbert Guillory, whose political base of St. Landry Parish is included in the new district, says he is 98% certain that he will run.

Guillory says he expects to raise about $1.5 million. 

“I’ve been in meetings and telephone calls about it nonstop,” he says. “We think that we have a path to victory.” 

For Graves, the work continues; this week he joined two senators in introducing a bicameral Congressional Review Act to overturn the Biden administration’s “new burdensome environmental review process.”

—THEY SAID IT: “Sometimes legislation is like a fine wine.” –Gov. Jeff Landry, replying to Rep. Marcus Bryant, who noted that the bill Landry was signing this week to give law enforcement more tools to deal with intoxicated offenders took years to make it to the governor’s desk

Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com.