May 16, 2008 11:18

The national Democratic Party is putting the full court press on state Sen. Don Cravins Jr. to challenge incumbent Republican Charles Boustany in the 7th Congressional District. Cravins, who recently expressed an interest in possibly switching parties to run against Boustany as an independent, says the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been in close contact with him and offered substantial support were he to run as a Democrat. Cravins, along with two other Democratic African American state legislators, Lydia Jackson of Shreveport and Michael Jackson of Baton Rouge, recently stated they were considering Congressional runs as independents, partly because of the Democratic Party’s poor track record of supporting black candidates in major state elections and majority white districts. Cravins saw his father receive little party backing for his Congressional run in 2004.

“I’d like to run as a Democrat,” Cravins says. “But right now, I’m more concerned over the decision of whether I’m going to run or not. [The Democratic Party] has been talking to me about things I really wanted to hear the party talk to me about. I’m going to be traveling to D.C. in the next two weeks and I’ll make up my mind very shortly.” Cravins says he has been contacted directly both DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen and House Majority Whip James Clyburn. While in D.C., Cravins also plans to meet with former Louisiana Senator and 7th District Congressman John Breaux, who also has reached out to him.   

The national Democratic Party is currently riding high after three consecutive victories this year in Congressional districts formerly held by Republicans – including Louisiana’s 6thDistrict. “I think they’re just excited about the South,” Cravins says, adding the recent elections seem to show a discontent with the current leadership in Washington. “It’s encouraged me that people want change,” he says. “$4 gas is hitting everybody. The war’s having an effect on everybody.”

Among other things, Cravins says he will be talking with Democratic Party leaders about his more conservative positions on social issues. Noting that Boustany signed on early to the presidential campaign of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is pro-choice and pro-gun control, Cravins says, “I think I can out-conservative Boustany.”

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