Louisiana congressional candidate touts Trump endorsement

BATON ROUGE (AP) — With less than a week to go until midterm elections, U.S. Rep Clay Higgins touted a recorded message from Donald Trump Tuesday in which the former President endorsed the Louisiana Republican.

Throughout his campaign, Higgins has said that Trump supports his bid for a fourth term in Congress. However, The Advocate reports that the audio recording, which was posted on Higgins’ campaign Facebook page, is the first time the former president publicly gave the incumbent a verbal endorsement for reelection.

“I hope I’m your favorite president of all time,” Trump said in the recording. “Clay is an America first warrior, who is fighting to secure our border; defend our Second Amendment, which is under siege; and restore our energy independence.”

The recording of Trump was released the same day that early voting ended in Louisiana and a week before voters across the country will head to the polls — deciding on key congressional races that will determine which party will control the U.S. House and Senate for the next two years.

Higgins first rose to acclaim in southwest Louisiana as a sheriff’s department captain who made anti-crime videos, urging criminals to turn themselves in — earning him the nickname of “Cajun John Wayne.”

“Clay protected our communities as a law enforcement officer in Louisiana and works hard in Congress to uphold the rule of law and support our very brave police,” Trump said. “He is a big fan of the police as am I. Congressman Higgins has my complete and total endorsement, so please get out and vote for Clay.”

The congressman has periodically stirred controversy with social media posts since first being elected in 2016 — including a Facebook post in 2020 promising he would “drop” armed protesters “where they stand.” Most recently, Higgins made headlines after joking on Twitter about the attack on U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband. Higgins’ tweet has since been deleted.

While the incumbent is the likely favorite in the race, Higgins faces seven candidates vying to unseat him – among them Holden Hoggatt, a political newcomer and fellow Republican who has emerged as Higgins’ most formidable challenger.

The attorney has picked up bipartisan endorsements, most recently from three former congressmen who represented Acadiana — Democrats John Breaux and Chris John, and Republican Charles Boustany.

“When you get elected to serve in Congress, you serve all the people. Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, black and white, all creeds and all beliefs,” former U.S. Sen. Breaux wrote in his endorsement for Hoggatt. ”I believe Holden Hoggatt will be a Congressman who makes all of us proud.”

Leading up to the election Hoggatt has touted his record as a prosecutor and his stable family life while attacking Higgins in ads, alluding to the incumbent’s sometimes controversial videos, social media posts and a former wife’s allegation that he once pointed a gun at her. Higgins vehemently denied the accusation in a 2016 interview with The Associated Press.

In Louisiana, the election for the 3rd Congressional District seat could be decided Nov. 8, as the state has a unique “jungle primary.” Under this system all candidates, regardless of party, run against each other on the same ballot. If no one candidate tops 50% in the primary, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff in December.

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