U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre, has been a solid supporter of GOP President Donald Trump, and has raised and spent more money in his re-election campaign than anyone else in the race. But he’s also facing more opponents than any Louisiana incumbent, and is the only one challenged by a member of his own party.
So less than two months before 3rd District voters go to the polls, Higgins introduced a measure Wednesday (Sept. 12) to test members of Congress for drugs once each term and at their own expense, fulfilling a vow he made in a June 11 Facebook video. If they refuse random testing, their names would be made public, according to House Concurrent Resolution 135. If they test positive, they would be referred to the House or Senate ethics committee.
“Elected officials in Washington D.C. should be subject to the same kind of random drug screenings that blue-collar, working-class Americans have to endure,” Higgins said. “Congress shouldn’t get to live by a different set of rules. This effort is about maintaining accountability and ensuring sober service to we, the people.”
The bill has no co-sponsors, but it’s another example of how the upstart freshman employs eyebrow-raising tactics to draw attention to himself. Before he ran for Congress in 2016, Higgins set himself up as a tough-talking “Cajun John Wayne” in crime-fighting videos for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, and since then he has:
- Demanded execution without trial for suspected Islamic terrorists. “Kill them all,” he said.
- Recorded and published a controversial video from inside the Nazis’ Auschwitz concentration camp, to tout the U.S. military and homeland security. “It’s hard to walk away from the gas chambers and ovens without a very sober feeling of commitment — unwavering commitment — to make damn sure that the United States of America is protected from the evils of the world,” he said in the video, which he quickly retracted amid complaints that he used the Holocaust site for political purposes.
- Donned a sleeveless biker’s shirt and perched on a Harley-Davidson to rip National Football League players who don’t stand for the national anthem. “If these guys earning massive paychecks to play a game want to sit down during our national anthem, they can sit their ass down in the locker room,” he said.
Through June 30, Higgins had raised $704,125 for re-election and spent $527,202, according to his Federal Election Commission filings. That left him with $201,731. Trump, whom Higgins has backed in 97.7 percent of his votes in Congress, has endorsed him.
Higgins’ Republican opponent, Josh Guillory of Lafayette, raised $284,811 and spent $190,547, leaving $94,564. Guillory’s campaign manager is dating Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who has campaigned for Guillory.
Guillory did not immediately respond Friday to a call for comment on Higgins’ drug-testing bill. But Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party, called it a gimmick from a congressman who hasn’t delivered for his district.
.@RepClayHiggins : Test Congress for drug use to ensure ‘sober service’ #la03 https://www.thenewsstar.com/story/news/2018/09/13/higgins-test-congress-drug-use/1290439002/ … via @thenewsstar
None of the other 3rd District candidates has raised as much as $100,000. They are: Rob Anderson, D-DeQuincy; Aaron Andrus, Libertarian-Westlake; Mimi Methvin, D-Lafayette; Larry Rader, D-New Iberia; and Verone Thomas, D-Lake Charles.
The election is scheduled Nov. 6.
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Drew Broach covers Jefferson Parish politics and education, Louisiana interests in Congress and other odds and ends for | The Times-Picayune. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook: Drew Broach TP. Twitter: drewbroach1. Google+: Drew Broach.