Sexual Harassment Claims Dominating Louisiana Gov Race In Final Days

Gov. Edwards says the victim's claims are "false and misleading."

The Advocate reports:

Republicans are hoping to bring down the only Democratic governor in the Deep South with claims that incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards ignored a victim of sexual harassment at the hands of a powerful aide whose history included similar allegations more than a decade ago that tarnished Louisiana's last Democratic governor.

Saying he didn’t want to be a distraction, Johnny Anderson, Edwards' deputy chief of staff, quit in November 2017 within a few hours of Executive Counsel Matthew Block hearing of Juanita Washington’s allegations from a third party.

Washington said Anderson forced her to have oral sex with him and that he fondled her. She said the harassment went on for nearly a year because she feared for her job. When it became inconvenient for him, Anderson forced her to resign, Washington said. Anderson denies the allegations, but the state paid $108,000 to settle a possible lawsuit.

Edwards has been hammered for nearly a week with radio and television ads, tweets, blog posts, and mass emails for hiring Anderson, who had been under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations a decade earlier when he was a top aide to Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Washington appeared in a striking TV ad produced by Truth in Politics and released last week that criticizes Edwards for hiring of Anderson, despite allegations of sexual harassment made a decade prior at Southern University.

“They got very nervous earlier in the week because several polls showed me in the mid-50s. They got nervous and desperate,” Edwards told The Advocate over the weekend. “She wants people to believe, apparently, by the way they did the ad, that she lost her job because she made the complaint. That is really false and misleading.”

Edwards faces two well-funded Republicans, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, of Alto, and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone, and three others in Saturday’s primary. If Edwards fails to win outright Saturday he will face either Rispone or Abraham in a Nov. 16 runoff.

On Tuesday, Truth in Politics, whose co-founder, Lane Grigsby is a close ally of Rispone, held a press conference with Washington in front of the courthouse in Baton Rouge to personally accuse Edwards of ignoring victims of sexual harassment and to publicize the filing of a lawsuit seeking the release of thousands of documents from the Governor’s Office. She called on Edwards to apologize to her and accused his campaign of working to "distort" what happened to her. 

"I will not be silenced anymore," said Washington, who first detailed her allegations last year. "Governor: stop the lies. Tell your people to stop the cover up and stop attacking me."  

Previously: 

4 days, 17 hours ago

Virginia Democrats Voted to Allow Schools to Refrain from Reporting Sexual Battery in 2020

Virginia Democrats passed a law allowing schools to refrain from reporting instances of sexual battery, stalking, and other crimes occurring on school property in 2020

5 days, 13 hours ago

Sen. Tim Scott endorses McMaster in South Carolina governor's race

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott didn't endorse a primary candidate in South Carolina's 2018 gubernatorial race, but for 2022, he's offering an early nod to incumbent Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.

6 days, 16 hours ago

Youngkin says education is top issue in Virginia governor race: 'Parents are absolutely angry'

Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin on Tuesday referred to education as the top issue in the state's election

6 days, 19 hours ago

Abbott Completely Bans Vaccine Mandates By Any Employer In Texas

"The Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates."

1 week ago

Gov’s campaign paid $87.5K more to ex-staffer

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign paid an additional $87,500 over the past six months as part of a settlement with a former staff member who had accused her of sexual mistreatment during a 2018 meeting

1 week, 3 days ago

Arizona border just as ‘out of control’ as Texas, Gov. Doug Ducey warns

Border Patrol agents in western Arizona’s Yuma region have encountered 1,038% more suspected illegal immigrants year-over-year.