Skip to content

Graves decides not to run after Louisiana district redrawn

Republican faced running in heavily Democratic district or challenging a GOP colleague

Louisiana Republican Rep. Garret Graves will not seek reelection this year.
Louisiana Republican Rep. Garret Graves will not seek reelection this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Faced with running in a redrawn district that heavily favors Democrats or taking on one of his GOP colleagues, Rep. Garret Graves said Friday he will not seek reelection this year.

“After much input from constituents, consultation with supporters, consensus from family and guidance from the Almighty, it is clear that running for Congress this year does not make sense,” Graves said in a statement, Nexstar Louisiana reported.

The Supreme Court last month decided this year’s election would be run with a map the state adopted in January that had been drawn in response to a court order and included a second district where Black voters will be in the majority. That map was challenged, however, and a lower court had said it violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

“A run in a temporary district will cause actual permanent damage to Louisiana’s great representation in Congress,” Graves said. “Campaigning in any of these districts now is not fair to any of the Louisianans who will inevitably be tossed into yet another district next year.”

The filing deadline to run in the Nov. 5 primary is July 19.

Under the lines to be used in November, the 6th District that Graves now represents would have voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump by almost 20 percentage points, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, which rates the race for the seat as Likely Democratic.

Graves was said to be considering a challenge to Rep. Julia Letlow in the 5th District, but she was endorsed recently for reelection by Speaker Mike Johnson and other top GOP leaders in the chamber.

Graves, who is serving in his fifth term, had $4.7 million in his campaign account on March 31. Democrat Cleo Fields, a state senator who served two terms in the House in the 1990s, is running and had raised $600,000 through March 31.

The first map Louisiana drew after the 2020 census had a Black majority in one of the state’s six congressional districts, the New Orleans-based seat of Democratic Rep. Troy Carter.

That plan faced a successful challenge under the Voting Rights Act from Black voters and civil rights groups that argued the map deliberately limited the power of Black voters. State legislators adopted a new plan in January rather than have a court draw a new map.

That newest map has one Black-majority district centered in New Orleans and another that stretched from Baton Rouge to Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana, taking up much of Graves’ current seat.

Graves chairs the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is also a senior member of the Natural Resources Committee. Graves said the map would “affect Louisiana’s first opportunity in history to chair the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,” according to the Shreveport Times.

A former Senate staffer, Graves ran for the House when then-Rep. Bill Cassidy challenged and defeated Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014.

Michael Macagnone contributed to this report.

Recent Stories

Not your father’s (or grandfather’s or great-grandfather’s) GOP

Bandaged Trump met with thunderous reaction at RNC light on policy plans

Congress launches investigations of security failure at Trump rally

Running mate Vance is ardent Trump backer with brief Hill tenure

Florida federal judge tosses out Trump classified documents case

Capitol Lens | Calm before the storm