Clark Gaudin

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Edward Clark Gaudin
Louisiana House of Representatives for District 69
(East Baton Rouge Parish)
In office
Preceded by Luther F. Cole
Succeeded by Lillian W. Walker
In office
Preceded by Lillian W. Walker
Succeeded by Chuck McMains
Personal details

(1931-12-26) December 26, 1931 (age 85)
New Roads
Pointe Coupee Parish

Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican

(1) Marianne Hurst Gaudin (died 1992)

(2) Shirley Armetta Gaudin (married 1994)

Todd E. Gaudin
Allison Maria Asby

Dana Angelle Gaudin
Alma mater

Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University Law Center
Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Army

Edward Clark Gaudin (IPA /ˈɡdæn/) (born December 26, 1931) is a Baton Rouge attorney who served for twenty-one years in the Louisiana House of Representatives (1967–1968; 1972–1992) as the first Republican member from East Baton Rouge Parish in the 20th century.

Early years, education, family[edit]

Gaudin was born in New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish to Mr. and Mrs. Alton F. Gaudin. Gaudin's mother was reared in Ventress, also in Pointe Coupee Parish.

Gaudin graduated from the parochial St. Joseph's Academy in New Roads in 1948. He then received his bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1952. He entered the United States Army Artillery as a second lieutenant on an ROTC commission in 1952. He left the service in 1954 as a first lieutenant but remained a major in the Army Reserve for another decade thereafter. Gaudin graduated from the Louisiana State University Law Center with a Juris Doctor degree in 1958.

Gaudin wins six legislative elections[edit]

Gaudin won a 1967 special election created by the resignation of Democratic lawmaker Luther F. Cole, who became a judge. He defeated Democrat Richard E. Cheek, 9,856 votes (50.3 percent) to 9,730 (49.7 percent) in a special election for the one-year unexpired term. In his first year in the legislature, Gaudin served with three other Republicans, Morley A. Hudson and Taylor W. O'Hearn of Shreveport and Roderick Miller of Lafayette, all of whom are deceased. Gaudin was defeated for a four-year term in 1968, with Richard Cheek claiming victory after defeat the previous year. O'Hearn was also defeated; Hudson did not seek reelection, and Miller lost in a bid for the Louisiana State Senate. Gaudin rebounded in 1972 to win the first of five consecutive terms. From 1970 to 1972, there was only one Republican in the Louisiana House, the New Orleans attorney James Sutterfield, who won a special election to fill the vacancy created by the election of Nat G. Kiefer to the state Senate.

In 1972, Gaudin benefited from the presence of Republican gubernatorial candidate David C. Treen, a Baton Rouge native then residing in Jefferson Parish. Gaudin unseated the Democrat Lillian W. Walker, 6,949 (51 percent) to 6,645 (49 percent). Thereafter, Gaudin won comparatively easy victories to hold his seat. When Gaudin was reelected in the 1975 nonpartisan blanket primary, he had only four incoming Republican colleagues, and one of those, A. J. McNamara of Jefferson Parish, had been elected as a Democrat but switched affiliation in 1977.

In his last election for the District 69 seat, which then encompassed the Jefferson Street area and Tara subdivision, in 1987, Gaudin polled 48 percent in the primary and was forced into a general election (often called the "runoff" in Louisiana) with the Democrat Marilyn Barfield. He then won by a comfortable margin, 7,370 (58 percent) to 5,441 (42 percent). He did not run again in the 1991 primary, but his seat remained in Republican hands with the general election victory of Chuck McMains, who later left the legislature and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in the 1996 jungle primary. District 69 was dismembered by the legislature after Gaudin announced that he would not seek reelection, and part of the base now lies in District 68.

Despite his success in legislative races, Gaudin narrowly failed in a bid for a judgeship of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge. In an election held on December 8, 1990, Gaudin received 16,944 votes (48.7 percent) compared to his Democratic opponent, Linda Holliday, who finished successfully with 17,857 votes (51.3 percent).[1]

Medical marijuana bill[edit]

In his last legislative session, Gaudin attempted to revive Louisiana's medical marijuana law.[2]

Right-to-work legislation[edit]

Gaudin was among a virtual handful of Louisiana legislators who supported a state right-to-work law in his 1967-1968 term. By 1976, after his reelection, the legislature passed right-to-work on the theory that it would encourage economic growth by allowing workers the choice of whether they should join a union. Gaudin accused opponents of the legislation of taking cues from labor officials such as the AFL-CIO president Victor Bussie of Baton Rouge.[3]Louisiana was the last traditional southern state to adopt such legislation. In gaining passage, Gaudin worked with Representative Bruce Lynn, a fellow Republican and a banker from Caddo Parish. Lynn was elected to succeed another right-to-work supporter, Democrat (later Republican) James H. "Jimmy" Wilson of Vivian. Other leading right-to-work advocates were Representative R. Harmon Drew, Sr. of Minden and John Hainkel of New Orleans.

Gaudin worked to eliminate the Louisiana Milk Commission, which lawmakers eventually concluded kept milk prices in the state artificially high and forbade out-of-state companies from selling within Louisiana.

Gaudin retained an interest in Republican politics after he left the legislature. He was a delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention held in San Diego,[4] which nominated the ticket of Robert J. Dole and Jack French Kemp. The Dole-Kemp combination, however, lost Louisiana's then nine electoral votes in the fall campaign to Bill Clinton and Al Gore.


  1. ^ "Judicial election results". Louisiana Secretary of State. December 8, 1990. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ Harrist, Eileen Loh (November 5, 2002). "The Best Medicine?". Gambit Weekly via Marijuana Policy Project. Archived from the original on 2002-11-25. Retrieved 2008-08-31. In 1991, another lawmaker took a stab at reviving Louisiana's medical-marijuana law. Rep. Clark Gaudin, R-Baton Rouge, introduced the bill after a young man rolled into Gaudin's office in his wheelchair to talk to the lawmaker about his reliance on pot. 
  3. ^ Minden Press-Herald, May 14, 1976, p. 1
  4. ^ "GOP delegates for Louisiana". All Politics: 1996 convention. CNN. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Luther F. Cole
Louisiana State Representative for District 69
(East Baton Rouge Parish)

Succeeded by
Lillian W. Walker
Preceded by
Lillian W. Walker
Louisiana State Representative for District 69
(East Baton Rouge Parish)

Succeeded by
Chuck McMains