Former Gov. Edwin Edwards made a big statement last week.
He celebrated his release from prison with marriage to a beautiful, much younger, lady along with a press conference and a social event that included a roast of his jaded past and an elaborate dinner at one of his favorite spots – the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans.
This writer remembers him well when he was governor, walking up to take the stand at press conferences during Louisiana Press Association annual conventions, some of which were held at the Monteleone. He made a favorable impression back then, not hesitating to answer questions whether they favored what he did or not.
Few people can argue with the benefits he brought the state through some of his actions. He became fed up with the tortuous procedure of requiring citizens to vote on 50 or more proposed constitutional amendments every other year. He called for a constitutional convention that straightened out the messy constitution for the time being. He also ended party runoffs for state offices that caused many candidates, including himself, to expose himself to the electorate in three elections to get one term in office. He did this by eliminating the party runoffs and letting leaders in party primaries vie against each other along with independent candidates in one general election. That configuration holds today for local and statewide elections.
Will Edwards run again if he is pardoned by the President as would be required for the next 14 years? Probably not. He’ll be enjoying his new life and wife too much to chance another defeat in his life. After all, he’s living it up as is, getting all the attention he could want in the news media. With such an audience, he could become an effective ex-governor by giving his opinion in affairs of state.