Graves, who will run as a Republican and who until recently was the head of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, brings a skill set to the campaign unmatched by any other candidate. As part of that previous gig, he was based in Baton Rouge but had plenty of opportunity to interact with the coastal areas of the district (it doesn’t stretch all the way to the water, but it gets close). With most of the district within 25 miles of the Mississippi, coast, or other major waterway, given the relationship that flooding has with coastal issues, he knows a number of area officials. Plus, his work many years ago for former Republican Rep. Billy Tauzin in what was then that district can’t hurt. In a geographical sense, no other candidate can match his contacts.
The same goes for potential volunteers, endorsers, and donors. His appointment by Gov. Bobby Jindal and good working relationship with him for six years ensures that Jindal supporters will review his candidacy favorably. Yet his work on Capitol Hill for Tauzin and Democrat former Sen. John Breaux not only will bring him some support from out of state as well as in it, but it also means he can make inroads among non-Republicans. As a bonus, reactions about his tenure at the CPRA from the environmentalist community on the whole were good, even from some of the most extremist organizations involved.