Election Coverage

Aug 23, 2014 5:18 PM by Ian Auzenne

Races Take Shape for November Election

Louisiana voters will be busy on November 4, as they will decide the fate of constitutional amendments, local propositions, and a host of candidates vying for federal, state, and local offices.

Fourteen constitutional amendments will be on the November ballot. One of them, the fifth amendment on the ballot, would repeal the 70-year age limit currently in place for state judges. Another, the seventh amendment on the ballot, would create a $150,000 homestead exemption for veterans labeled "100% unemployable" or "totally disabled" by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In St. Mary Parish, voters will decide whether to put a two-and-a-half term limit on parish councilmen and the parish president. In addition, St. Mary Parish voters will vote on a pay raise for parish councilmen and the parish president. District councilmen's monthly salary would increase to $750, while the councilman at large's monthly salary would increase to $1,100. The parish president's salary would be boosted to $36,000.

Youngsville voters will decide whether to dedicate permanently the city's 1% sales tax to both the police and fire departments. In 2012, voters agreed to split the tax evenly between the two departments for a two-year period ending on January 1, 2015.

Kaplan residents will vote on a bond issue designed to raise money to improve city streets.

If Louisiana elections are a boxing match, the amendments and propositions are the undercard to this election cycle's main event: The congressional and municipal races.

The crowded U. S. Senate race pits the front-runners, incumbent Mary Landrieu (D) and Sixth District Congressman Bill Cassidy (R), against seven other opponents. Among them are former retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness (R) and civil rights activist Raymond Brown (D).

In the Third Congressional District race, incumbent Charles Boustany will face a familiar opponent. Fellow Republican Bryan Barrilleaux will once again seek the LA-3 seat. He ran in 2012 and picked up only 3% of the vote in that primary. Running against Boustany and Barrilleaux is independent candidate Russell Richard.

John Fleming will face two opponents in the Fourth Congressional District race. Running against the incumbent Republican are Democrat Justin Ansley and Libertarian Randall Lord.

Vance McAllister qualified at the very last minute in the Fifth Congressional District race. The so-called "Kissing Congressman" will have to fend off nine different candidates. Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo (D), "Duck Dynasty" cousin Zach Dasher (R), and Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway (R), who represented the now-defunct Eighth Congressional District from 1987 until the district's dissolution in 1993.

Three district attorney's races are heating up, while one is over before it ever began.

In the 15th Judicial District, incumbent Mike Harson will face his former chief prosecutor Keith Stutes. In the 27th Judicial District, former district judge Ellis Daigle is looking to unseat Earl Taylor.

In the 16th Judicial District, Bo Duhé will take over as district attorney in January after qualifying unopposed in that race. The current district attorney, Phil Haney, will step down after quietly deciding not to run for a third full term.

In the 31st Judicial District, longtime D. A. Michael Cassidy is being challenged by Wendell Miller.

Several mayoral races are shaping up interestingly.

Don Cravins will run against a current alderman and a former alderman in this year's Opelousas mayoral election. District D alderman Reggie Tatum and former alderman at large Harvey Darbonne will try to unseat Cravins, who is looking for his third term in office.

Another St. Landry Parish city will have a new mayor because the incumbent is seeking another municipal post. Mayor Cecil Lavergne will not seek a third term in office. Instead, he is running against current alderman at large Bernice Richard Smith for that position. Former St. Landry Parish School Board member Jerry Domengeaux and current District 3 alderman Charles James are seeking Sunset's top post.

In Rayne, the mayor's race will be a repeat of last year's special election. The incumbent, Roland Boudreaux, will once again square off against businessman Chuck Robicheaux for the city's chief executive seat.

In Duson, former mayor Carolyn "Susie" Lagneaux will try to win her seat back from incumbent Johnny Thibodeaux. Shane Blasingame is also running in that race.

Mamou will have a new police chief come January. Four candidates are vying for the seat currently held by Greg Dupuis, who declined to run for a third full term. Robert McGee (R); Allen Noel, Sr. (D); Charles Perdices (No Party), and Katina Richard (D) are running for the post.

Another chief's race of note is in Arnaudville. Kenneth "Toby" Wetzel is seeking to return to the office he held until earlier this year when he lost a special election to the Eddy Lecompte. Those two will meet in the November election to see who will serve the next regular four-year term.

Another former top cop seeking a return to office is former Krotz Springs chief Wanda "Susie" Lacassin. She will face off against incumbent Norman Mouille and Joseph Melancon for the job.

In Baldwin, residents will have to select both a new mayor and a new chief. Neither Mayor Wayne Breaux nor Chief Gerald Minor is seeking reelection this year. Residents will have three choices for mayor--Benny Druilhet, current alderman Mike Lancelin, and Donna Lewis Lanceslin--and six choices for police chief--Sharandae Brannon, Daven Colar, Ronnie Fuselier, David Robertson, Harry Smith, Jr., and Albert Thibodaux.

Back in Lafayette Parish, the school board races are taking center stage. Three seats will definitely gain new representatives. District 1 member Mark Babineaux is seeking a district judgeship. District 6 representative Greg Awbrey and District 9 member Rae Trahan both declined to run for re-election. All of the other six incumbents are facing opposition, making Lafayette Parish the only parish in Acadiana to have all of its school board seats contested.

The already heated Lafayette City Marshall's race has gained a fourth candidate. Joseph Bowman Cormier, who unsuccessfully ran for the post in 2008, is running for the job once more. He will face off against incumbent Earl "Nickey" Picard, former deputy marshall Brian Pope, and former Lafayette Parish sheriff's deputy Kip Judice.

In Youngsville, current city councilman Ken Ritter will take over as mayor at the beginning of next year. He is running unopposed for the seat. Current mayor Wilson Viator is retiring from office at the end of the current term.

A rarity for Louisiana elections can be found in Carencro. All of the city's elected officials will return to office in January after running unopposed. No one signed up to challenge Mayor Glenn Brasseaux, Police Chief Carlos Stoute, or the city's five councilmen. Carencro is the only municipality in Acadiana in which all candidates are running unopposed.

For a complete list of amendments, propositions, and candidates, click here.

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