State Sen. Don Cravins Jr. (D) announced Wednesday that he will challenge second-term Rep. Charles Boustany (R) in the Bayou States southwest 7th district.
The freshman state Senator, who also served one term in the Louisiana House of Representatives, enters the race with the vocal support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, whose leaders he met with on a visit to Washington, D.C., earlier this month. DCCC officials are calling Cravins a strong candidate who is a good fit for the district.
The 7th is a conservative district that voted for President Bush in 2004 by a 21-point margin, but it had long been represented by moderate Democrats before 2004. The district is about one-quarter black and also has a large number of Catholics.
Cravins is a black, pro-gun, anti-abortion-rights Catholic whose father was also a state legislator. Don Cravins Sr. (D) was one of five candidates to vie for the 7th district seat when it was an open race in 2004. In that race, Cravins came in third, missing the runoff by fewer than 2,000 votes. Boustany won the runoff by 10 points and cruised to re-election in 2006 by 42 points.
In his two terms in Congress, during a time when Louisiana has gone through something of a seniority drain with recent retirements, Boustany has earned a reputation as an emerging leader in the Bayou State GOP delegation. He has actively worked to ensure that Republican challengers in battleground districts around the state are well-funded and, at the end of the the first quarter, he reported more than $700,000 in receipts so far this cycle.