WASHINGTON D.C. (KPEL News) - GOP Congressman Garret Graves has given his final answer to the question of whether or not he's running for governor this year.

In a statement released by Graves' office on Tuesday, the Baton Rouge Congressman said that "it is clear that the best service we can provide to Louisianans and the next Governor is by building upon our wins in the U.S. Congress."


Graves has been toying with the idea of running for governor for several months. In recent interviews with Greg Hillburn with the USA Today Network, he stated he was getting a lot of "extraordinary pressure" to run for the job.

Republican Louisiana Congressman Garret Graves said he is facing "extraordinary pressure" to run for governor and continues to weigh a decision on whether to enter this year's race or remain in the newly GOP-controlled House where his influence is growing.

"I'm continuing to think through where I can be the most helpful for the state," Graves said in an interview with USA Today Network. "At the end of the day, there is extraordinary pressure (from supporters) to run."

Graves is the last major Republican candidate on the fence.

But, he appears to no longer be on the fence.

His announcement comes a day after former DOTD leader Shawn Wilson announced his bid for governor, making Wilson the only declared candidate from the Democratic Party. Graves, however, would have been one of four Republicans, along with independent Hunter Lundy of Lake Charles.

There is a chance that someone else on the Republican side may still want to jump into the race. Reporter Julie O'Donoghue with the Illuminator reported Monday on social media she had heard the CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Stephen Waguespack, might be jumping in soon.

So far, Waguespack has made no public claims to that effect.

Full Text of Rep. Garret Graves' Statement

Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Louisiana is at a crossroads. This Governor's election is going to be the most consequential in our lifetime. We are one of the most blessed states in the country. We have more strategic advantages - our resources, people and culture - than virtually any other, yet our citizens are burdened with some of the greatest disadvantages: crime, traffic, taxes, insurance, education, flooding and lost opportunity. Nearly half of our state budget is Medicaid, the federal healthcare safety net program for the poor - one-half of the entire budget. And, we are losing our best and brightest to Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and others. There is no excuse for our situation.

The next Governor will not succeed by being just a great executive. The next Governor must be a leader who unites all the state's community leaders, our job creators, and elected representatives around a bright, bold vision and plan for the state's great comeback story - so that we're all rowing in the same direction. All of us.

Our next Governor must capitalize on our strategic advantages, take courageous action and lead this state in a direction where the need for a lifetime of social welfare programs and poverty are replaced with hope, opportunity, upward mobility and living our dreams.

For nearly two years now, Carissa and I have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement by you and so many others to play the prominent role in Louisiana's transformation. And we have told everyone we talk to that we are praying about it and will follow God's wisdom to serve in the best manner in which to contribute to this important task. The question is where can we be most helpful to our citizens. After much prayerful consideration and hundreds of conversations, it is clear that the best service we can provide to Louisianans and the next Governor is by building upon our wins in the U.S. Congress.

The role you've enabled me to play now is to support a Governor who will lead and unite our state - a Governor with a bold, hopeful vision of Louisiana's promise that is equal to her potential.

In the coming days, the field for Governor will brighten. And Louisiana will have a generational opportunity to write America's greatest comeback story.

As the proud representative of the nearly 800,000 people I am honored to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, I am absolutely committed to Louisiana's future and will work hard to ensure that Louisiana wins the next election this fall.

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