Representative Garret Graves announces he will not run again

Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) announced Friday that he will not seek another term following court-ordered redistricting. made his path to re-election more difficult and raised the possibility that he could run against a fellow Louisiana GOP lawmaker.

“After much voter input, consultation with supporters, family consensus and guidance from the Almighty, it is clear that running for Congress this year does not make sense,” Graves said in a statement. “It is clear that running in any temporary district will cause real and permanent damage to Louisiana’s great representation in Congress.”

Graves’ decision comes about a month after the Supreme Court ordered Louisiana to use a map redrawing the 6th Congressional District, in which he serves, in the state’s second majority-black district. This left Graves, who is white, facing an uphill battle in her district or potentially running against Rep. Julia Letlow, a fellow Republican, in the neighboring 5th Congressional District.

First elected in 2014, Graves was a close ally of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) before his ouster last year. Graves played a leading role in negotiating the May 2023 deal to avoid a default on U.S. debt.

He also authored the centerpiece of a legislative package last year aimed at reducing energy costs.

Graves initially responded to the Supreme Court’s decision by promising to run for office in a “Capital Region-anchored district,” referring to the Baton Rouge area. But House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) launched an effort to avoid a member-versus-member primary, endorsing all of his Louisiana Republican colleagues, including Graves, for re-election in their existing districts.

Although the map put Graves in danger, it protected the rest of Louisiana’s Republican delegation, including its two most powerful members: Johnson, the president, and Rep. Johnson. Steve Scalise, House Majority Leader.

On Friday, Graves predicted that districts would be shaken up again after the 2024 elections. He also lamented Louisiana’s loss of influence on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which he is a member.

“Certainly, it is a serious disappointment to miss the historic opportunity to advocate for Louisiana’s priorities on this committee,” he said.

The map that dismantles Graves’ district has the support of Louisiana’s governor. Jeff Landry, an intra-party rival of the congressman. Last year, Graves supported one of Landry’s Republican opponents in the gubernatorial race.

Graves’ decision leaves two Democrats running for the 6th District: State Sen. Cleo Fields and social justice activist Quentin Anthony Anderson. The deadline for submitting applications is July 19.

In Louisiana, congressional candidates from all parties ran on the same ballot in the November election; If no one obtains a majority, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff in December.

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