Graves will not seek re-election: “It is clear that running for Congress this year does not make sense”

BATON ROUGE — U.S. Representative Garret Graves has announced that he will not run for re-election this fall. This decision comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling permitting Louisiana’s revised congressional redistricting plan, which has transformed his 6th Congressional District into a majority-Black seat.

“After much input from constituents, consultation with supporters, consensus from family, and guidance from the Almighty, it is clear that running for Congress this year does not make sense,” Graves said Friday. “It is evident that a run in any temporary district will cause actual permanent damage to Louisiana’s great representation in Congress. Campaigning in any of these districts now is not fair to any of the Louisianians who will inevitably be tossed into yet another district next year.

Graves has represented Louisiana’s 6th district, which currently includes the bulk of Baton Rouge’s suburbs, Livingston Parish and parts of Lafourche Parish, since 2015. He replaced Bill Cassidy who successfully ran for the U.S. Senate

“Representing South Louisiana and serving in the United States Congress has been an incredible honor.  From the beginning and ever since, we have constantly emphasized that our decisions and actions are grounded in what’s best for Louisianians first and foremost.  Our accomplishments confirm the steadfast commitment to this objective. 

The new congressional maps were introduced earlier this year following a ruling in the case Robinson v. Landry. A federal judge found that the maps adopted in 2022 violated the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against Black voters. However, a three-judge panel subsequently determined that the revised plan, which reconfigured the 6th District to extend from Shreveport to Baton Rouge, was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

Despite this, the U.S. Supreme Court has mandated that the map remain in place for this year’s election as the appeals process for Callais v. Landry continues.

The redistricting, spearheaded by Governor Jeff Landry, placed U.S. Representative Garret Graves in a challenging position fraught with political risks. The new maps compelled Graves to choose between running in the newly formed 6th District, now a majority-Black seat, or the 5th District. Opting for the latter would set the stage for a contentious primary against two fellow Republicans with whom he shares close personal ties.

“The consequences of redistricting will affect Louisiana’s first opportunity in history to chair the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,” Graves said in his announcement. “This committee is the throttle for federal action on traffic, bridges, railroads and airports – and Louisiana priorities like ports and Mississippi River commerce, coastal and hurricane and flood protection, disaster response and recovery, national defense and Coast Guard, economic development and more. Admittedly, it is a serious disappointment to miss the historic opportunity to champion Louisiana’s priorities in this committee.

Before running for public office, Graves served as an aide to former U.S. Representative Billy Tauzin for nine years. He was also a legislative aide to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

He would soon work under U.S. Senators David Vitter and John Breaux.

In 2008, then-Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Graves to chair the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority where he negotiated on behalf of the state over the deadly Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the Louisiana coast.

During his tenure in Congress, Graves has represented Louisiana on the Transportation and Infrastructure committee and the Natural Resources Committee. He was tapped by former House Speaker Mike McCarthy (R-CA) to lead the Republican side in negotiations over the 2023 U.S. debt-ceiling crisis.

“This has been an amazing experience resulting in thousands of new friendships and unrivaled progress for the area we represent. In this divisive and politically-polarized environment, to receive over 80 percent of the vote in the last election confirms that we were getting it mostly right. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”

Download the Unfiltered with Kiran app from the Apple App Store and Google Play to stay updated on the latest news across the Capital area. 

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