Edwin Edwards, Governor

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Edwin Washington Edwards, Governor

Birthplace: Marksville, Avoyelles, LA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Clarence Edwards and Agnès Edwards
Husband of <private> Edwards (Picou)
Ex-husband of Elaine Edwards, U.S. Senator
Father of <private> Edwards; <private> Edwards; <private> Edwards and <private> Edwards
Brother of Nolan John Edwards; <private> (Edwards); <private> Edwards and <private> Edwards

Occupation: Governor of Louisiana, U.S. Navy aviation cadet; City Councilman; State Senator; U.S. Representative; lawyer
Managed by: Joel Scott Cognevich
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Edwin Edwards, Governor

Edwin Washington Edwards was elected to his first term by an unprecedented combination of "Cajun" and black votes.

His administration was marked by several accomplishments. Edwards supported a constitutional convention to replace the unwieldy Constitution of 1921. The new Constitution, written in 1973 and made effective in 1975, directed the Governor to reorganize the executive branch. Edwards also pushed for legislation tying the severance tax on crude oil to a percentage of the barrel price rather than a flat fee.

High energy prices of the 70's helped Louisiana maintain a balanced budget during Edwards' first two terms.

Edwards named blacks to key state positions and his support of black politicians resulted in a mutually beneficial relationship. He supported the "open primary" which pitted candidates of all parties against each other in a first general primary which inadvertently strengthened the Republican Party in state elections as Democrats split their votes. Edwards' third term was marked by Federal indictments, but not convictions, for mail fraud, obstruction of justice and public bribery stemming from the sale of hospital certificates, and coincided with failing oil prices and failing state revenues.

Thought to be politically dead after conceding the 1987 race to Buddy Roemer, Edwards roared back into the Govenor's Mansion for an unprecedented fourth term in 1992. Not since his first gubernatorial election had Edwards received the endorsement of so many major newspapers and organizations - all intent on keeping former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke out of office. Early in his fourth term, Edwards led the passage of land-based casino gambling legislation.


Edwin Washington Edwards (born August 7, 1927) served as the Governor of Louisiana for four terms (1972–1980, 1984–1988 and 1992–1996), twice as many terms as any other Louisiana chief executive has served. Edwards was also Louisiana's first Roman Catholic governor in the 20th century. A colorful, powerful and legendary figure in Louisiana politics, Edwards was long dogged by charges of corruption.

In 2001, he was sentenced to ten years in prison on racketeering charges. Edwards began serving his sentence in October 2002 in Fort Worth, Texas, and was later transferred to the federal facility in Oakdale, Louisiana.

Two men whom Edwards defeated in Louisiana elections—David C. Treen and J. Bennett Johnston Jr.—and a third who was his protege, John Breaux, confirmed in July 2007 that they intended to approach then U.S. President George W. Bush about procuring a pardon or commutation for Edwards, who celebrated his 80th birthday in prison in August 2007. Bush, however, denied a pardon for Edwards before he left the presidency on January 20, 2009.

Edwards was released from federal prison into a halfway house on January 13, 2011. Supporters lobbied President Barack Obama for a pardon for Edwards so he might run in the 2011 Louisiana Gubernatorial Election. Edwards stated he would contest the election if legally allowed to do so. Obama did not reply to petitions by supporters of Edwards, leaving him ineligible to seek the governorship again. Republican Governor Bobby Jindal won a second term in a landslide without a runoff, gaining over 67 percent of the popular vote as compared to 18 percent for his closest Democratic rival.

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Edwin Edwards, Governor's Timeline

August 7, 1927
Marksville, Avoyelles, LA, USA
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States