Clay Higgins

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Glen Clay Higgins


U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 3rd congressional district
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Charles Boustany

Born August 1961
New Orleans, Louisiana

Resident of Port Barre in St. Landry Parish

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Eloisa Rovati (divorced)

(2) Rosemary “Stormy” Rothkamm Hambrice (divorced 1999)
(3) Rebecca Lee Wynn "Becca" Higgins

Occupation Former law enforcement officer
Religion Christian

Glen Clay Higgins, known as Clay Higgins and as the Cajun John Wayne (born August 1961),[1] 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".[2]

Background

Some of Higgins' Crime Stoppers skits have been carried on NBC's The Tonight Show, starring Jimmy Fallon.[3] 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."[4] With a "country bumpkin drill-sergeant persona," Higgins emphasizes that his focus is on criminals.[3] 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.[3]

Controversy over the videos led Higgins to resign as a captain under St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Joseph Guidroz (born April 1954), a Democrat.[5] Higgins then became a deputy marshal for the city of Lafayette and conducts extensive lecturing on law and order issues.[3]

Higgins lives in Port Barre in St. Landry Parish with his third wife, Rebecca Lee Wynn "Becca" Higgins (born November 25, 1976).

2016 congressional race

A former car salesman,[6] 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.[4]

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.[6]

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).[7] Higgins trailed Angelle by 6,624 votes out of 320,434 cast in the 12-man field.[8]

As Higgins headed into the runoff contest with Angelle, his second former wife, Rosemary “Stormy” Rothkamm Hambrice (born June 17, 1969), 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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]

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 office, 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.[13]

2018 re-election bid

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 the United States Army 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 re-election. Giuliani and LeBlanc hosted a fund-raiser for Guillory. Guillory called his opponent "a phony and a hypocrite," having cited Higgins' vote to raise the debt ceiling. "At some point, we have to take fiscal responsibility seriously. I will not vote to increase our national debt. We have got to get our spending under control." Guillory claims that Higgins has put party politics above his constituents.[14]

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 seeking the position.[15]

In addition to Joshua Guillory, Higgins faces two Democratic challengers in the November 6 nonpartisan blanket primary for his second term in Congress. Rob Anderson of DeQuincy in Calcasieu Parish, a freelance author, claims that Higgins "crossed the line" in a video about the Holocaust filmed in a gas chamber at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Former U.S. Magistrate Mildred Ellen "Mimi" Methvin (October 24, 1952), ridicules Higgins as "less Cajun John Wayne and more Cajun Barney Fife," a reference to the 1960-1968 CBS television series, The Andy Griffith Show. Methvin, who carries the official endorsement of the Louisiana Democratic Executive Committee,[16] argues that Higgins casts votes for the Trump agenda that are in conflict with the interests of hard-pressed constituents in the district.[17] Methvin is a daughter of the late Alexandria attorney DeWitt T. Methvin, Jr.; her paternal grandmother, Myrtis Lucille Gregory Methvin (1895-1977), was the first woman mayor in Louisiana in rural Castor in Bienville Parish; her maternal grandfather, William Peyton Cunningham, Sr. (1901-1971), represented Natchitoches Parish in the state House of Representatives from 1932 to 1940.

Two African-American candidates are also challenging Higgins. Verone Thomas of Lake Charles, a United States Navy veteran and businessman, said the Third District is "sinking, and we need someone to patch the hole and guide us in the right direction." Larry Rader, an insurance agent from New Iberia who previously sought the seat, is again running. After polling 9 percent of the ballots cast in 2016, Rader then endorsed Higgins in the runoff against Scott Angelle. Rader vowed to focus on diversification of the Louisiana economy and claims Higgins has not met the expectations Rader had for him in the previous runoff.[18]

In July 2018, Higgins said that he was "surprised and disturbed" that many of his Democratic colleagues voted "Present" on a non-binding House resolution to voice support for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which has come under attack from liberals who claim agents have engaged in discriminatory treatment of illegal aliens. Higgins said that abolition of ICE would "only help those that ICE opposes, including drug dealers, human traffickers, and terrorists."[19]

Though he had first expressed hesitance about the potential impact of retaliatory tariffs by China on American agricultural products, HHiggins said in August 2018 that he is encouraged by Trump's trade policies and expects farmers to reap ultimate benefit from the tariffs.[20]

References

  1. Glen Higgins, August 1961. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on July 11, 2016.
  2. Meet Lt. Clay Higgins, The Most Badass Cop In America. lockerdome.com. Retrieved on July 11, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Cajun John Wayne seeks U.S. House seat", The San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas, July 3, 2016, p. A25
  4. 4.0 4.1 Seth Dickerson (May 18, 2016). Clay Higgins to announce run for public office tonight. The Lafayette Advertiser. Retrieved on July 11, 2016.
  5. Bobby Guidroz, April 1954. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on July 11, 2016.
  6. 6.0 6.1 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.
  7. Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (November 8, 2016). Retrieved on November 9, 2016.
  8. 8.0 8.1 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.
  9. Child Support?. Facebook (November 15, 2016). Retrieved on November 16, 2016.
  10. Greg Hilburn and Deborah Barfield Berry (November 16, 2016). Premature orientation? Higgins says he's in D.C. to raise money, not mingle. The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on November 17, 2016.
  11. Greg Hilburn (December 1, 2016). Angelle cash king in 3rd District race, but Higgins gets most bang for buck. The Shreveport Times.
  12. Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (December 10, 2016). Retrieved on December 10, 2016.
  13. Lafayette man admits to threatening Clay Higgins. KATC of Lafayette, Louisiana (July 6, 2018). Retrieved on July 6, 2018.
  14. Elizabeth Crisp (July 21, 2018). A day with one-of-a-kind U. S. Rep. Clay Higgins: 'Dog the Bounty Hunter', motorcycles, tattoos, more. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on July 25, 2018.
  15. Trump endorses Higgins after Giuliani backs opponent his girlfriend works for. The Baton Rouge Advocate (June 20, 2018). Retrieved on June 22, 2018.
  16. Greg Hilburn (August 20, 2018). See who Louisiana Democrats pinned their hopes on. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on August 21, 2018.
  17. Mark Ballard (July 18, 2018). Candidates for Louisiana Secretary of State, Congress begin to qualify for fall elections. The Baton Rouge Advocate.
  18. Greg Hilburn (July 19, 2018). "Higgins qualifies for re-election with Trump's blessing". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.
  19. GOP Rep: 'Surprised' & 'Disturbed' to See So Many Dems Vote 'Present' on Resolution Supporting ICE. Clayhiggins.yhouse.gov (July 19, 2018). Retrieved on August 23, 2018.
  20. Greg Hilburn (August 23, 2018). Rep. Higgins: Trump, America winning trade war. The Monroe News-Star.