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Louisiana US Rep. Garret Graves won’t seek reelection, citing a new congressional map

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, a Republican representing Louisiana, said on Friday that he will not run for reelection after a new congressional map dismantled his district, transforming it into the state’s second majority-Black district.

Up until now, the congressman, one of former-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s close allies, had remained adamant that he would run again. But in a written statement on Friday he explained his change of mind.

“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,” said Graves, of Baton Rouge.

The lawmaker went on to say that a run in any “temporary district” would cause “permanent damage to Louisiana’s great representation in Congress.”

“This has been an amazing experience resulting in thousands of new friendships and unrivaled progress for the area we represent,” he continued. “In this divisive and politically-polarized environment, to receive over 80 percent of the vote in the last election confirms that we were getting it mostly right. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”

Graves’ exit clears the way for an open race in the new 6th District, where Democratic state Sen. Cleo Fields, of Baton Rouge, has already declared his candidacy, and virtually guarantees current 5th District Republican Congresswoman Julia Letlow, of Start, an easy path to reelection.

The Associated Press