Former Gov. Edwin Edwards mulling run for Congress

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 11:35 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 12 at 11:41 PM

Karen Swensen / Eyewitness News
Email: kswensen@wwltv.com | Twitter: @karenswensen

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Eli Wallace Edwards is the youngest son of Louisiana's 50th governor and, if you listen to his father, a future governor himself.

“Trina has already made the shirt that says EWE for governor in 2043.”

By then, Edwin Edwards would be 115. At 86, the new dad knows a long future is hardly guaranteed, but he said he has no regrets, as a world without Eli is now unimaginable.

“Even though I may not have that much time with his father, I guarantee you the time he does have is precious and a great time,” said Edwin Edwards’ wife, Trina Edwards.

That Eli is surrounded by love is indisputable. His big brothers and sisters, who range in age from their teens to their 60s, dote on him, and so does Edwin's first wife of 40 yrs, Elaine, whom Trina affectionately refers to as their wife-in-law.

“She calls and checks on Eli all the time and emails and gives him gifts. She made him a quilt for Christmas. So we get along really well and I consider her one of my closest friends,” Trina said.

But if that's interesting, wait until you hear what the couple is considering next – they said they’d consider having even more children.

“Well, we're talking about it, but right now I have other plans that are going to be more demanding of my time,” Edwin Edwards said. “But we'll see how that works out.”

What could be more pressing in the interim?

When asked if he’s considering running for office, Edwin Edwards said, “I would have been surprised had you not picked up on that. That's one of the things I'm looking at.”

The former four-term governor cannot run for the state's highest office because years after leaving it the last time, he was convicted on racketeering charges, for which he served eight years in prison.

According to state law, he cannot run for another statewide office for 15 years without receiving a pardon.

But there's nothing to preclude him from mulling a run for Congress, where he served in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

“I guess in a way, I'm kind of egotistical, but I do think I could win and I wouldn't run unless I thought I could win,” he said. “I like to tell people that one thing's for certain: I can't make things in Congress any worse.”

Edwards said he's meeting with 25 political leaders in the 6th Congressional District, home of the seat currently held by Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who is running for the Senate against incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

They'll review polls and discuss whether he can beat his prison past and opponents to move onto Washington.

“One of the reasons she's kind of anxious for me to run is I've explained to her that I would be gone a lot," Edwin Edwards said.

“We've never spent the night apart since we've gotten married, and I don't imagine we will, so I think that I'd probably go with him,” Trina Edwards said.

Edwin Edwards added, “We would spend some time in Washington and the rest of the time here.”

How would the Washington elite react to the May-December duo? Neither really cares.

“Each marriage is an individual institution and this is a good one.”

The Governor's Wife didn't last too long on A&E, but perhaps, they hint, it'll be resurrected.

“We signed a contract and we're obligated to perform and we're going to continue with the program as dictated by the producers."

When he was in prison, Edwin Edwards said he spent his time thinking about what he'd do when he got out -- relax, retire, travel.

But then Trina came calling and everything changed for both of them.

“She was very adamant that she would never want to get married. She didn't want to have any more children and she didn't want to have anything to do with politics,” he said. “And so now when I tell her when I wake up in the morning and she looks at all three of those scenarios, that's what you get for visiting a fellow in prison!”

Edwin Edwards, at 86, is as colorful a figure as he ever was, and together with Trina, the unpredictable duo seem poised to make quite a splash. The question is where.

“We have to have a girl. We're gonna have a girl. It's happening. Get ready, brace yourself,” Trina said. “I have three eggs. I have three eggs left. We might have triplets!”

The governor said he has no self-imposed deadline for when he'll decide whether to run for Congress.

Qualifying begins in August.

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