Political History: Edwards (the first) loses (sort of) the governorship

Last week marked the 32nd anniversary (Oct. 24, 1987) of three-term Gov. Edwin Edwards losing his throne to then-Congressman Buddy Roemer.

Technically, Edwards didn’t lose anything.

He advanced to the runoff besides Roemer, although trailing 33 percent to 27 percent.

What Edwards did do, however, was resign from the race.

That was a better option than getting tossed by voters.

EWE made his decision known that evening, to a crowd of “weeping family and friends,” according to The Shreveport Times.

Two days later The Washington Post published another article with this headline: “EDWARDS CUTS HIS LOSSES.”

Here are the first three paragraphs:

The Edwin Edwards era ended in stunning fashion early this morning when Louisiana’s bon temps governor, reading the long odds against him, withdrew from his reelection race after finishing second in the bipartisan primary behind Rep. Charles E. (Buddy) Roemer III, a young, conservative, reform-conscious Democrat from Shreveport.

As a result of Edwards’ decision, there will be no runoff in November, and Roemer, who three weeks ago was running last in a five-man race, woke up this morning as governor-elect, preparing for his move next March to the white mansion in Baton Rouge.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable. I’m still not over it,” Roemer said today in a telephone interview from his Shreveport hotel room, referring both to his meteoric rise and the Democratic governor’s unexpected withdrawal. “An era is over, but let’s give Edwin Edwards this much credit: He came in with class in 1971 and he went out with class.”

Edwards, of course, wasn’t exactly down for the count.

He, of course, made another comeback in 1991, besting David Duke at the polls in the so-called “Race From Hell.”


About Jeremy Alford 227 Articles
Jeremy Alford is an independent journalist and the co-author of LONG SHOT, which recounts Louisiana's 2015 race for governor. His bylines appear regularly in The New York Times and he has served as an on-camera analyst for CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and C-SPAN.

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