|Glen Clay Higgins|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2017
|Preceded by||Charles Boustany|
|Born|| August 1961|
New Orleans, Louisiana
Resident of Port Barre in St. Landry Parish
|Spouse(s)|| (1) Eloisa Rovati (divorced)|
(2) Rosemary “Stormy” Rothkamm Hambrice (divorced 1999)
Glen Clay Higgins, known as Clay Higgins and as the Cajun John Wayne (born August 1961), is the Republican member of the United States House of Representatives for Louisiana's 3rd congressional district, based about Lafayette and Lake Charles.
Higgins, born in New Orleans, is a former law enforcement officer from St. Landry Parish (Opelousas) who gained national attention for his aggressive Crime Stoppers videos. He has been called "the most bad-ass cop in America".
Some of Higgins' Crime Stoppers skits have been carried on NBC's The Tonight Show, starring Jimmy Fallon. Though he has been accused by the interest group, the American Civil Liberties Union, of bias against lawbreakers, whom Higgins has dubbed "animals," "thugs," and "heathens." With a "country bumpkin drill-sergeant persona," Higgins emphasizes that his focus is on criminals. One of the videos features an outraged Higgins threatening the burglar who broke into a popular restaurant in Opelousas. Clarence Lazard, an African-American Baptist pastor who supports Higgins' videos, describes Higgins as "a unique gentleman who's not scared to say what he thinks." Though he is often referred to as a Cajun, Higgins is actually of Irish descent.
Controversy over the videos led Higgins to resign as a captain under St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Joseph Guidroz (born April 1954), a Democrat. Higgins then became a deputy marshal for the city of Lafayette and conducts extensive lecturing on law and order issues.
A former car salesman, Higgins defeated another Republican, former Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Scott A. Angelle, in a runoff election for the 3rd district U.S. House seat on December 10, 2016. The incumbent representative, Republican Charles Boustany, a retired physician from Lafayette, gave up the seat in an unsuccessful bid for the United States Senate in the November 8 primary election. Victory in the Senate race went to state Treasurer John Neely Kennedy, who won the right to succeed the retiring incumbent senator, Republican David Vitter.
Higgins espouses a conservative political stance in which he urges the public to:
set aside your differences, stand together as one nation under God and as one people beneath the glory of one flag, to stand as a nation reborn. ...[American is in] grave peril [from overseas and from] the elected and appointed elitist few who have seized power in Washington and squandered our wealth, mortgaged our children's futures and betrayed our trust.
Higgins' campaign hit a snag in October 2016, when Salon, the Internet magazine, reported that he used his former position in the St. Landry Parish sheriff's department to launch private business deals while on public employment. Prior to the disclosure, Higgins had been running second to Scott Angelle in the preliminary congressional polls.
In the primary held in conjunction with the presidential election in which Donald Trump easily carried the Louisiana electoral vote, Angelle led a 12-candidate field with 91,374 votes (28.6 percent). Higgins trailed in second place with 84,809 ballots (26.5 percent). Finishing third was the Democrat Jacob "Dorian Phibian" Hebert, with 28,358 votes (8.9 percent). In seventh place was the Republican former state Representative Brett Geymann of Lake Charles, with 21,606 (6.8 percent). Higgins trailed Angelle by 6,624 votes out of 320,434 cast in the 12-man field.
As Higgins headed into the runoff contest with Angelle, his second former wife, Rosemary “Stormy” Rothkamm Hambrice, from whom he was divorced in 1999, filed a $140,826 suit against him for nonpayment of child support for their children, now all adults. The suit contends that Higgins halted child-support payments in Marcb 2005, when the youngest child was ten years of age. A judge in Orange County, Texas, directed Higgins to begin paying Hambrice $1,289 per month. Higgins said he paid the $1,289 in child support until 2005, when his income was reduced after he became a full-time law-enforcement officer. Higgins added that he continues to help two of his grown children with housing and transportation expenses. Higgins claims that Hambrice, a paralegal, is a friend of Scott Angelle, whom Higgins faced in the congressional runoff. She did not bring suit until Higgins entered the runoff election, he added.
Higgins went to Washington, D.C., on a campaign fund-raising trip that coincided with orientation of new House members. He attended an orientation dinner but said that he was not assuming that he will defeat Angelle in the runoff contest. "I am here to raise money and for people to vet me. I'm meeting with people who need to shake my hand and look into my eyes and into my heart," he said.
A Trump supporter, Higgins carried the backing of the Lafayette-based talk radio host Moon Griffon, a long-term critic of both Angelle and Angelle's campaign manager, Timothy "Timmy" Teepell, a former aide to former Governor Bobby Jindal.
Higgins trailed Angelle in fund-raising; he amassed $280,966 through December 1, 2016, compared to Angelle's $1.63 million. From October 20 to November 20, Angelle raised $281,276; Higgins, $99,345. As of November 20, Angelle had $412,806 on hand; Higgins, $34,104, according to a campaign finance report posted by the Federal Election Commission.
Runoff returns gave Higgins votes 77,670 votes (56 percent) to Angelle's 60,760 (44 percent). Higgins ran strongly throughout the district, particularly Acadia, Iberia, St. Landry, and St. Mary parishes but lost Calcasieu (Lake Charles) and Cameron parishes and finished with a near tie in St. Martin Parish.
In 2017, Sohail Ahmed Rana (born January 27, 1968) of Lafayette, in a "cursing" call from Fort Garland in Costilla County, Colorado, to Higgins' Lafayette, threatened the life of the congressman. On July 5, 2018, he pleaded guilty before U. S. District Judge Dee D. Drell to one count of threats by interstate communications. Rana faces sentencing on October 9; Drell could sentence him to five years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
On November 6, 2018, Higgins will face a re-election challenge from fellow Republican Joshua Slavone "Josh" Guillory (born January 8, 1983), a Lafayette lawyer who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Guillory carries the endorsement of President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City. Giuliani backs Guillory because Giuliani's paramour, Jennifer LeBlanc, left the employment of Representative Higgins, reportedly on good terms, but she opposes the congressman's reelection. Giuliani and LeBlanc will host a fund-raiser for Guillory. Trump, however, remains committed to Higgins, who has been highly supportive of the president's MAGA agenda. Higgins said that he is confident he can defeat Guillory or other opponents who may yet file for the race.
Higgins lives in Port Barre in St. Landry Parish with his third wife, Becca.
- Glen Higgins, August 1961. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on July 11, 2016.
- Meet Lt. Clay Higgins, The Most Badass Cop In America. lockerdome.com. Retrieved on July 11, 2016.
- "Cajun John Wayne seeks U.S. House seat", San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas, July 3, 2016, p. A25
- Seth Dickerson (May 18, 2016). Clay Higgins to announce run for public office tonight. The Lafayette Advertiser. Retrieved on July 11, 2016.
- Bobby Guidroz, April 1954. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on July 11, 2016.
- Zack Kopplin. Uniform misconduct: Inside the rise and possible fall of 'The Cajun John Wayne', GOP congressional candidate Clay Higgins. Salon.com. Retrieved on October 4, 2016.
- Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (November 8, 2016). Retrieved on November 9, 2016.
- Clay Higgins, in runoff for 3rd District seat, faces child support lawsuit from former wife. Baton Rouge Morning Advocate (November 11, 2016). Retrieved on November 13, 2016.
- Child Support?. Facebook (November 15, 2016). Retrieved on November 16, 2016.
- Greg Hilburn and Deborah Barfield Berry (November 16, 2016). Premature orientation? Higgins says he's in D.C. to raise money, not mingle. Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on November 17, 2016.
- Greg Hilburn (December 1, 2016). Angelle cash king in 3rd District race, but Higgins gets most bang for buck. The Shreveport Times.
- Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (December 10, 2016). Retrieved on December 10, 2016.
- Lafayette man admits to threatening Clay Higgins. KATC of Lafayette, Louisiana (July 6, 2018). Retrieved on July 6, 2018.
- Trump endorses Higgins after Giuliana backs opponent his girlfriend works for. =The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on June 22, 2018.