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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LPR

Graves says he won't seek re-election after Supreme Court ruling on redistricting

Louisiana Rep. Garret Graves announced Friday that he would not seek re-election following a redistricting battle that was recently decided by the Supreme Court.

In a statement announcing his decision, the Republican lawmaker cited redistricting and said that "running for Congress this year does not make sense."

"It is evident that a run in any temporary district will cause actual permanent damage to Louisiana's great representation in Congress," he continued in a statement his office confirmed to NBC News. "Campaigning in any of these districts now is not fair to any of the Louisianians who will inevitably be tossed into yet another district next year."

Graves, who was first elected to Congress in 2014, overwhelmingly won re-election in 2022 in a district that covers parts of southern Louisiana near Baton Rouge and New Orleans. But legal battles around redistricting threw his 2024 prospects into doubt.

The Supreme Court ruled in May that the state could use a congressional map with a second majority-Black district. The redistricting would alter the lines of existing districts, including the one Graves represents.

The ruling came after civil rights groups and Republican state officials filed emergency requests asking the Supreme Court to block a lower court's ruling that would have scrapped the congressional map with two majority-Black districts, which could also boost Democrats' prospects this fall.

Graves' announcement marks a swift turnaround. As recently as last month, the 52-year-old lawmaker insisted he would run for re-election and projected optimism that his district would remain intact.

“Look, the region where I live, the region where I was born and raised — it is a community of interest. You cannot break it up,” Graves told NBC News on May 7, days before the Supreme Court's ruling. “We will continue to represent it.”

Graves, who serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Natural Resources Committee, has had a remarkable journey during his tenure in Congress.

Last year he went from a little-known backbencher to one of Capitol Hill’s most important players almost overnight, when he was tapped by then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for a daunting task: building the coalition to lift the debt ceiling and prevent a global financial crisis.

McCarthy’s trust in Graves paid off when the bill passed and was signed into law by President Joe Biden. It earned Graves the reputation as a pragmatist in a caucus full of rabble-rousers.

But that consequential alliance was short-lived, as conservatives ousted McCarthy from the speakership months later. And now, Graves has been drawn out of his district by his own party.

McCarthy praised Graves on Friday, saying in a statement posted to X that his absence "will be a major loss for the conference and the entire House."

McCarthy added that he "never would have been elected Speaker without" Graves.

"I will always consider myself lucky to have served with such a loyal friend," he wrote.

A wave of House lawmakers have said they won't seek re-election this year. Graves is the 25th House Republican to announce they won't seek re-election, either due to retirement or seeking other office. Democrats have an equal number of House lawmakers not seeking re-election in November.

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