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By Kathy Finn
NEW ORLEANS, March 17 (Reuters) - Edwin Edwards, the 86-year-old former governor of Louisiana who served an eight-year prison term on racketeering charges, announced on Monday that he will seek election to the U.S. Congress.
Edwards, a Democrat and four-term Louisiana governor, launched his candidacy for a seat currently held by Republican Bill Cassidy, who is running for the U.S. Senate.
"I've given a great deal of thought to this ... and I acknowledge that there are good reasons why I should not run ... but there are better reasons why I should," Edwards told reporters at the press club in Baton Rouge, part of the district he is seeking to represent.
"I haven't had this much attention since the trial," he quipped.
Edwards was accompanied by his wife Trina, who is about 50 years his junior and their baby, who was being looked after by Edwards' two adult daughters from his first marriage.
Edwards served two terms as governor in the 1970s and was re-elected in 1983. He then managed a comeback for a fourth term in 1991.
It was during that term that he came under federal scrutiny in connection with the state's licensing of riverboat casinos and was convicted by a jury on charges of racketeering.
Despite the convictions, the colorful politician still has strong support in the state.
Edwards, his wife and his daughters - both of whom are older than Trina - were the stars of a short-lived reality television show called "The Governor's Wife". (Reporting by Kathy Finn; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Stephen Powell)