Scalise faces two opponents as he seeks re-election to Congress

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 9:32 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2022 at 9:33 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - GOP House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie faces two challengers as he seeks re-election to Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District, in Democrat Katie Darling and Libertarian Howard Kearney.

Scalise and Darling are running campaign ads on television, while Kearney has posted campaign videos on social media.

In one ad, Scalise targets crime and illegal immigration, saying, “Enough is enough. We need to support our police, secure our border.”

In her campaign spot, Darling says, “I’m running for Congress because I want that better path for you, for her and for him,” referring to her young children.

Freedom is a theme in many of Kearney’s videos.

“I’m here, asking you to help me to return liberty and justice for all,” Kearney says. “And remember, don’t be a coward, vote for Howard.”

Scalise first was elected to Congress in 2008. He spoke with FOX 8 last Friday (Oct. 28) on his re-election bid and other topics.

“I’ve had the honor of fighting for the people of southeast Louisiana in Congress and would want to continue that fight to address problems like inflation, the higher cost of things, crime,” Scalise said. “Locally, I’ve worked very hard to bring hundreds of millions of dollars for coastal restoration. We need to strengthen our community from future storms.”

Darling is a first-time candidate.

“I think it’s time for the voters to be aware of Steve Scalise’s record: Voting against infrastructure, voting against reducing inflation,” she said. “I think it’s time for the voters to begin voting for themselves and to choose a representative who will represent them and their needs.”

Kearney, a computer programmer, said voters should not re-elect the incumbent.

“Replace him with someone who’s going to focus on the promises that our founding fathers made and what the Republicans have been promising for decades,” Kearney said. “And that is more freedom, more liberty, less taxes, less government.”

FOX 8 asked Scalise why he did not vote for the $1 trillion infrastructure package that is now law.

“If you look at that bill, we were actually working on a package that would have been about $400 billion strictly for infrastructure, roads, bridges, ports, waterways and it was going to be paid for,” Scalise said. “And unfortunately, that’s not the direction President Biden and Speaker Pelosi went. They actually wrote a $1.2 trillion bill.”

Scalise conceded that billions of dollars from the infrastructure law are flowing to Louisiana, with some of the funds already in the state. But, he said, “If we would have passed the $400 billion package -- and there was a lot of bipartisan interest in getting that bill done -- it would have been paid for. So it wouldn’t have added to inflation.”

Darling, who is pro-choice, said she would vote no on legislation that would result in a federal abortion ban.

“That’s the main reason that I’m running, to protect women and to protect bodily autonomy for all citizens,” she said.

Kearney and Scalise also were asked if they would support a federal ban.

“I would, yes,” Kearney said. “I would support a federal abortion ban, because abortion is just murder.”

Scalise responded by pointing to his long-held pro-life stance.

“I have been very proud over the years to support pro-life legislation at the state level,” Scalise said. “I’ve voted for and helped pass strong pro-life laws. At the federal level, one of the things we’ve been talking about as you see the Dobbs decision come out is putting limits on abortion, but also protecting the unborn.

“The Born Alive Act, that as the Republican whip I helped get support from every Republican in Congress, we still can’t get the votes right now to pass it. But in a Republican House, you’ll see the Born Alive Act come up for a vote.”

Each of the candidates was asked whether they would work with members of the other party to get more things done in Congress.

“Absolutely, we have to,” Darling said. “I want to represent the entire district, which does include many Republicans. And I would love the opportunity to work with Republican colleagues to better this country together.”

Kearney said, “My top priority is to work with other legislators who believe in freedom and liberty for their citizens, primarily by looking at things like decentralizing the federal government.”

And Scalise said he believes there are areas where he and Democrats can work together.

“Yeah, while we’ve got some areas where we have big political differences, I really think that if we’re in the majority in January and we bring bills to the floor to help secure our energy security in America, I think we’ll get a lot of Democrats that would vote for that,” Scalise said. “Bills to lower inflation, secure our border.”

Further, Scalise said, “I’m actually working right now with Troy Carter, we’ve co-sponsored a bill called the Breeze Act to say that if there is new wind energy that comes into the Gulf of Mexico or any other federal waters that we would be able to participate and get revenue sharing from that wind energy because there is a lot of interest in places like the Gulf of Mexico but right now none of that money would come to Louisiana. Under our bill, it would and that would help us with coastal restoration.”

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