BATON ROUGE, La. — Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards said Monday that he will enter the race for Louisiana's 6th Congressional District, ending months of speculation about the 86-year-old's political future.
A federal felony conviction keeps Edwards from running for state offices, but not from a congressional seat.
The 6th District seat is being vacated by Republican Bill Cassidy, who is running for Senate against incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Edwards, a Democrat, served two terms as governor in the 1970s. He was re-elected in 1983 and made another comeback for a fourth term in 1991.
A felony conviction arising from the licensing of riverboat casinos in his fourth term led to eight years in prison. His announcement Monday came during a Press Club luncheon at a Baton Rouge casino.
Edwards was the dominant figure in Louisiana politics for much of the late 20th century despite a series of scandals that resulted in numerous investigations and four federal trials, one of which resulted in conviction. He retired from politics in 1996, before it became clear that he was again under investigation in the case that would result in his imprisonment.
Before and after his prison term, he defended himself as a victim of an unfair federal judge in Baton Rouge, perjured testimony by former friends who had sought casino licenses and an overzealous federal government. Federal prosecutors have denied all of those accusations.
Edwards regained the public eye soon after leaving prison in 2011, marrying a woman five decades his junior and starring with her in a short-lived reality TV series.
Trina Edwards, his third wife, gave birth to their child, Eli Wallace Edwards, last August.
The 6th Congressional District is centered on the Baton Rouge area and extends south into the bayou parishes of coastal Louisiana. It is Republican-dominated, and several GOP leaders already have said they intend to campaign for the seat.
Formal qualifying is in August, with the primary election set in November.