BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Jabs were thrown back and forth Monday between former Gov. Edwin Edwards and Garret Graves with less than two weeks to go before the December 6 runoff election for the 6th Congressional District.
The former governor accused his opponent of awarding family members with state business. Graves fired back, saying Edwards is desperate and down in the polls.
Edwards was at the Press Club luncheon on Monday, but Graves said he had a scheduling conflict and could not make it. Cameras did catch the candidate voting early on Monday. Edwards used the opportunity with the media to attack Graves, who is Gov. Bobby Jindal's former coastal adviser. Edwards said Graves has done business that benefited his family financially and not the people of Louisiana.
"When you look at what he did for his father and his brother-in-law, I think he's very correct in saying he's a family man," Edwards said.
"These are allegations that came up once before and we challenge Gov. Edwards or anyone else to go out there and try and prove them," Graves said. "They're simply, absolutely not true and what it is…it's a campaign tactic that you do when you're desperate."
Edwards also pointed out Graves is not a college graduate.
"What will he do? No college education, a claimed expert in all these various things?" Edwards questioned.
Graves admitted he went to college for five years, but did not graduate because he chose a job in the Senate over a diploma. He added he has never hidden the fact that he did not graduate college.
"So, I'm not perfect like most other people, but certainly, I'll say again, I haven't done anything unethical or illegal. This campaign is about Louisiana's future," Graves explained.
Graves said he has experience in several Louisiana industries such as maritime, infrastructure, finances and more, which make him the candidate to represent Louisianians.
Edwards said the same, touting his experience in the farming and petrochemical industries. Plus, Edwards added he wants to begin planning an elevated expressway over I-10 to relieve the congestion.
"We have a serious problem on Interstate 10, ground level. I've been there and I've traveled morning and nigh and I witnessed the congestion," Edwards added.
"I've had my faults. I made my mistakes, but they're all out there and I don't think Garret Graves or anybody else can come up with anything new or different. I don't have any skeletons in my closet. They're all out there walking around," Edwards stated.
"I think that everyone who's walked this earth, with the exception of one person, has made mistakes in their lives and certainly, he's one of them, just like I have. I'm not going to in any way, shape or form try and put my errors or misjudgment in the same category as his, but you know, we're looking forward," Graves said.
"I'm going to continue building upon the successes that I've had in the past, but obviously, being a member of Congress and representing south Louisiana gives us a lot better position to be in order to deliver some of those solutions to south Louisiana," Graves added.
There is a debate scheduled for next week in Denham Springs on December 2, which both candidates have agreed to take part in.