Don Cazayoux

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Don Cazayoux
Don Cazayoux, official 110th Congress photo portrait, 2008.jpg
U.S. Representative Don Cazayoux
United States Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana
In office
June 22, 2010 – July 1, 2013
Preceded by David Dugas
Succeeded by J. Walter Green (acting)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 6th district
In office
May 3, 2008 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Richard Baker
Succeeded by Bill Cassidy
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 18th district
In office
2000 – May 6, 2008
Preceded by Robert "Rob" Marionneaux, Jr.
Succeeded by Major Thibaut, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1964-01-17) January 17, 1964 (age 50)
New Roads, La.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Cherie Cazayoux
Children Michael, Chavanne, and Katie Cazayoux
Parents Mr. and Mrs. Donald J. Cazayoux, Sr.
Residence New Roads, Louisiana Louisiana
Alma mater Louisiana State University, Georgetown University
Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

Donald J. 'Don' Cazayoux, Jr. (/ˈkæʒ/;[1] born January 17, 1964) is a former United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, a position that he held from 2010 to 2013. From 2008 to 2009, he was a Democratic United States Representative from Louisiana's 6th congressional district.[2]

He won a special election held on May 3, 2008, to fill the seat vacated on Republican Congressman Richard H. Baker. He defeated Republican nominee Woody Jenkins and was sworn in on May 6, 2008.[3] In the regularly-scheduled general election held later that year, Cazayoux ran for re-election but was defeated by the Republican nominee, State Senator Bill Cassidy.


Early life[edit]

A native of New Roads, Cazayoux is the son of Donald J. and Ann Cazayoux. His paternal grandparents were Jules Joseph Cazayoux, Jr. (1914–2010), who was employed by the Southern Cotton Oil Company, and the late Ida Belle Glynn Cazayoux.[4] A Roman Catholic, he graduated from the Catholic High School of Pointe Coupee in 1982.[5] He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. After finishing his studies, Cazayoux practiced law and then became a prosecutor for Pointe Coupee Parish. As an assistant district attorney under the 18th Judicial Court District Attorney, Richard "Ricky" Ward, Cazayoux never lost a jury trial.

Political career[edit]

Louisiana Legislature[edit]

Cazayoux was first elected to the state legislature in 1999. He represented District 18, a heavily Democratic district that includes his home in Pointe Coupee Parish as well as Iberville, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes. In the legislature, he became one of the few freshmen ever appointed to the powerful Appropriations Committee. He also worked for passage of laws to assist law enforcement in cracking down on child sexual predators.

After his reelection in 2007, Cazayoux attempted to become Speaker of the state House, but the position went to Republican Jim Tucker of the New Orleans suburbs.

Service in Congress 2008-2009[edit]

Cazayoux announced his candidacy for the 6th District shortly after Baker resigned. With the strong backing of the national party, he easily defeated fellow state representative Michael L. Jackson, who represents a portion of Baton Rouge, in the Democratic primary.

Cazayoux's Republican opponent in the special election was Louis E. "Woody" Jenkins, a newspaper publisher who represented part of Baton Rouge in the Louisiana House from 1972 to 2000, and had been narrowly defeated for election to the U.S. Senate in 1996. In the special election, Cazayoux received 49,702 votes (49.2 percent), to Jenkins' 46,741 (46.3 percent). Three minor candidates shared the remaining 4.52 percent of the ballots cast. Cazayoux clinched the seat with a nearly 5,000-vote margin in Jenkins' own East Baton Rouge Parish. Jenkins' greatest strength was in Livingston Parish, a heavily Republican suburb of Baton Rouge[6]

In his congressional bid, Cazayoux had the support of organized labor, including the United Steelworkers,[7] as well as many traditional Democratic constituency groups. Cazayoux ran several ads making sport of difficulties people may have pronouncing his Cajun last name.

Cazayoux was the first Democrat to represent the 6th since four-term incumbent John Rarick was defeated in the 1974 Democratic primary. The seat was won that fall by Republican Henson Moore, who held it for twelve years before giving way to Baker in 1987.

Cazayoux lost his attempt for a full term in November 2008 to State Senator Bill Cassidy, who took 48 percent of the vote to Cazayoux' 40 percent. Jackson, this time running as an independent with funding from long-time Cassidy supporter, Lane Grigsby,[8] finished third.[6] Jackson garnered 36,133 votes—more than the 25,000-vote margin between Cassidy and Cazayoux, suggesting that he siphoned off many African-American votes that would have otherwise gone to Cazayoux and threw the election to Cassidy. The Daily Kingfish [9] published photos of Jackson meeting with Congressman-elect Cassidy just three days after the election. Cazayoux was one of five incumbent House Democrats to be defeated in the 2008 congressional elections, along with Nancy Boyda (D-KS), William J. Jefferson (D-LA), Nick Lampson (D-TX), and Tim Mahoney (D-FL).

Cazayoux's 2008 campaign was endorsed by Democrats for Life of America.[10]

Politics[edit]

Cazayoux is considered a moderate-to-conservative Democrat, which is typical for most Louisiana Democrats outside New Orleans. He strongly opposes abortion and gun control.[11] The latter stance earned him an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.[12] He also supports expanding SCHIP, and favors withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. He calls himself "a John Breaux Democrat."[13]

Career after Congress[edit]

In April 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Cazayoux as United States Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, following a recommendation by U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu from May 2009.[14] Cazayoux was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate for the position on June 22, 2010.[15] After stepping down as U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, Cazayoux announced the opening of the Cazayoux Ewing law offices in Baton Rouge and New Roads. Lane Ewing, a former assistant U.S. Attorney, is partnering with Cazayoux, who has also tapped former longtime assistant U.S. Attorney Stan Lemelle to join the firm. Lemelle recently retired after a 35-year career as a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office. [16]

Personal life[edit]

Cazayoux is a former president of the New Roads branch of the Lions Club (2002–2003). He and his wife, Cherie (married 1986), have three children.[17] Cazayoux is a distant relative of former U.S. Representative, the late Lindy Boggs [18] of New Orleans.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert "Rob" Marionneaux, Jr.
Louisiana State Representative, 18th District
2000–2008
Succeeded by
Major Thibaut, Jr.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Richard Baker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 6th congressional district

May 6, 2008–January 3, 2009
Succeeded by
Bill Cassidy