Speaking on the first day of election qualifying in Baton Rouge, Mimi Methvin, an attorney from Lafayette, said Higgins portrays himself as a John Wayne-style figure, “But he’s been more like Barney Fife doing the bidding of the GOP hierarchy.”
Fife was a bumbling deputy sheriff character on the 1960s TV series “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Higgins earned notoriety when he was running for congress in 2016 and fashioned himself as a “Cajun John Wayne” for a series of “crime stopper” videos he released when he was captain of St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department.
Methvin said she knows she has an uphill challenge.
“I love to be underestimated,” Methvin said. “It will be a great pleasure to prove the naysayers wrong.”
Methvin was not the only Democratic challenger who took a swipe at Higgins during qualifying. Rob Anderson, a freelance writer, called Higgins “just a placeholder for the Republican Party.”
Higgins also got a primary challenger from his own party. Josh Guillory, an attorney from Lafayette, announced he would challenge the incumbent as a Republican.
“The biggest difference between (Higgins) and myself is that I live in the district, and that’s important,” he said. Higgins lives in Port Barre.
President Donald Trump endorsed Higgins last month via a statement by his daughter-in-law and senior adviser Lara Trump.
Trump also tweeted his support of Higgins last month.
.@RepClayHiggins has been a great help to me on Cutting Taxes, creating great new healthcare programs at low cost, fighting for Border Security, our Military and are Vets. He is tough on Crime and has my full Endorsement. The Great State of Louisiana, we want Clay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2018
But Trump’s lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani endorsed Guillory.
Giuliani also headlined a fundraiser for Gullory and he touted having “the support and advice of ‘America’s mayor.’”
Guillory also criticized Higgins’ conservative credentials.
“You can’t tell us you’re a conservative and vote to consistently raise our debt,” he said.
Also on Wednesday, GOP Rep. Garrett Graves got a challenge from Democrat Justin Dewitt, who said he is the first openly gay person to run for Congress in Louisiana, WBRZ reported.
Dewitt called Graves a “corporate sellout” and said he would not accept political action committee donations.