Today is Friday, August 17th and it is the last day to qualify for candidate elections to be held on November 6th. Aside from the Presidential election, East Baton Rouge Parish will be electing a significant portion of our representative government, including both Mayor and all seats on the Metro Council. For political fans, the qualifying period is one of the more exciting periods of the political campaign, because you never know who's really in the race until this point in time. Here's a quick breakdown of the races and who has qualified as of Friday morning.
Mayor-President: Unsurprisingly, both current Mayor Kip Holden and Mayor Pro-Tempore Mike Walker have both qualified for this race. The big question mark is whether local businessman Gordon Mese will officially throw his hat in the ring as he has indicated his desire to run. (Update: Mese's Facebook post at 9:30AM states: “I just went to the ATM, to get my qualifying cash!!!!!”)
District 1: Incumbent Councilman Trae Welch is currently running unopposed.
District 2: Councilman Ulysses “Bones” Addison is term limited and cannot seek reelection to the Council. In the void he is leaving, there are no less than six candidates currently seeking his soon-to-be vacant seat. I would expect some of the candidates to drop out of the race and endorse some of the remaining candidates between now and November. Qualifying candidates include: Corey Alfred, Chauna Banks-Daniel, Steven Cook, Leroy Davis, Hillery Johnson, and Edward Roberts.
District 3: Incumbent Councilman Chandler Loupe is currently running unopposed.
District 4: Incumbent Councilman Scott Wilson is currently running unopposed.
District 5: Incumbent Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards is currently running unopposed.
District 6: Incumbent Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis faces three challengers: Edwin “PaPo” Del Valle, Carolyn “Gee” George, and William Roundtree. The District 6 race is one of the few Council races in the Parish with a multi-racial mixture of candidates.
District 7: Incumbent Councilwoman Denise Marcelle is facing a challenge from Hazel Bradley.
District 8: Newcomer Buddy Amoroso is running unopposed for Mayor Pro-Tempore Mike Walker's vacated seat. Recent reapportionment redrew the district lines in District 8 more so than other districts, but apparently not enough to generate a challenger
District 9: Incumbent Councilman Joel Boe' is facing a challenge from Ted Rush. This one might get interesting. Media reports indicate Rush is running due to Boe' proposing an ordinance concerning pond excavation that Rush believes was aimed at him personally (and which Boe' didn't really seem to deny, although one would guess it was more the act than the person). With the campaign already starting on a personal level, it's unlikely to get any friendlier.
District 10: Incumbent Councilwoman Tara Wicker is facing a challenge from Larry Selders. This one has some history. Wicker and Selders faced off in 2008 for this seat with Wicker being the victor by a recount-inducing SIX votes. Reapportionment redrew the District lines, so there's no telling how the race will turn out this time.
District 11: Newcomer Ryan Heck is running unopposed for Councilwoman Alison Gary's seat. Gary declined to seek reelection for her seat and has a very good reason in the form of a new baby. There has been some chatter that School Board member Jerry Arbour may consider running, but nothing has as of yet materialized.
District 12: Incumbent Councilman Smokie Bourgeois is facing a challenge from Rose Carey and John Delgado. This race has already started to hit local news with Delgado challenging a Bourgeois proposed Ordinance concerning limiting door-to-door soliciting. In fact, this ordinance is the one I referred to in last week's blog. Following Delgado's challenge, the ordinance was reportedly amended and no longer includes folks going door-to-door for political campaigns or religious proselytizing. If you want to see a copy of the original ordinance, I've got one stashed over here. So yeah, this race is probably going to be pretty interesting.
Other Races: There are also several other races going on, including a pretty crowded race for the Associate Justice Supreme Court, 5th Supreme Court District as well as a few challengers for Bill Cassidy and Cedric Richmond's Congressional seats.
If you want to keep track of who is qualifying for what, the Secretary of State's website has a convenient site to follow along. Just click on the “Races in a Parish” tab and select “East Baton Rouge – 17” to begin your joyful journey of discovery. By the way, whoever was in charge of modernizing the Secretary of State's website deserves a medal. It is probably one of the better State Government websites I've ever seen considering how much information they make available to citizens, in real time no less.
See you next week when campaign season gets into full swing!
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