Running out of time to energize voters

The American Press

<p class="indent">The campaign to replace Louisiana’s third highest ranking state official, the Secretary of State, has attracted little attention as the Nov. 6 election creeps closer and closer. How we got to this point, though, was anything but quiet.</p><p class="indent">Tom Schedler, who was Louisiana’s chief elections official, resigned in May amid a sexual misconduct lawsuit filed against him by a former female co-worker. The lawsuit was filed in February, alleging Schedler harassed the woman for years and punished her when she rebuffed his repeated advances. Schedler’s spokeswoman said the pair had a consensual sexual relationship; the woman’s lawyer denied that.</p><p class="indent">Last week it was announced that Louisiana has agreed to pay the co-worker $149,075 to end the lawsuit and Schedler will personally pay her $18,425 on top of that, according to the state Division of Administration.</p><p class="indent">The November special election will fill the remaining year of Schedler’s term and in the meantime his former first assistant, Kyle Ardoin, has moved into the job.</p><p class="indent">Ardoin, a Republican, is running on the ballot to stay in the position. The other eight candidates are Republicans Heather Gould, A.G. Crowe, “Rick” Edmonds, Thomas J. Kennedy III and Julie Stokes; Democrats Renee Fontenot Free, a Lake Charles native, and “Gwen” Collins-Greenup; and Matthew Paul “Matt” Moreau, no party affiliation.</p><p class="indent">Political donors haven’t seemed to be in a hurry to break out their checkbooks for this race.</p><p class="indent">Ardoin raised the most campaign cash during July 30-Sept. 27 collection period with $140,000, narrowly edging out Stokes, who brought in nearly $134,000 in contributions.</p><p class="indent">Stokes reported the largest amount of money in the bank, dwarfing her competitors with $514,000 on hand. But that includes a $250,000 personal loan. Ardoin held just under $208,000 in his campaign account, including a $25,000 personal loan.</p><p class="indent">Cloud reported nearly $106,000 remaining in her account, but the majority stems from the $100,000 she loaned her campaign in July.</p><p class="indent">Edmonds raised more than $69,000 and closed with about $51,000 on hand. Crowe wrapped up the period with nearly $23,000 in the bank, after receiving about $47,000 in donations. He loaned his campaign $90,000 in June.</p><p class="indent">Free, a former top aide to two secretaries of state, took in more than $36,000 from contributors and ended with about $29,000 in the bank.</p><p class="indent">Three other contenders reported little or no fundraising.</p><p class="indent">There’s even less optimism when it comes to voter turnout with political operatives for the campaigns telling the Baton Rouge Advocate they estimate in the 18-20 percent range — that’s about 600,000 of the state’s 3 million registered voters.</p><p class="indent">Looks like the ultimate winner of the seat will be the one who can energize voters, but there’s little time left to do that.</p><hr /><p class="indent">This editorial was written by a member of the <em>American Press</em> Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include <strong>Crystal Stevenson</strong>, <strong>John Guidroz</strong>, <strong>Jim Beam </strong>and <strong>Mike Jones</strong>.</p>

Local News

Tigers take two on Sunday to set up winner-take-all for Monday

McNeese Sports

Ex-McNeese golfer wins with dad’s help

Local News

Most US students are recovering from pandemic setbacks, but millions lag

Local News

Republicans join Trump’s attacks on justice system and campaign of vengeance after guilty verdict

Local News

Late morning, afternoon thunderstorms on today’s docket

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Brumley likes propaganda videos

Crime

Jurors take less than 30 minutes to convict Fontenot of murder

Crime

Sheriff: Body found on the side of the road

life

Team Green Wednesday recycling drop-off schedule has changed

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: Veterans Cemetery holds burial for seven unclaimed veterans

Business

Commonwealth LNG accused of mowing over threatened bird habitat

Local News

Biden announces Israel has offered a three-part proposal to end the war in Gaza

Local News

Release of 1M barrels of gas ‘not likely’ to ease price at pump

Crime

LC man charged with child porn possession

Local News

Scooter Hobbs column: Everything you need to know (and more) about LSU opponent

Local News

Lake Charles, Sulphur populations down, but Hunter says news isn’t all bad

life

STEM-centric Saturday: Phillips 66 STEM Family Fun Day in the Park this weekend

Local News

Four local educators finalists for state teacher, principal of the year

Crime

Trial begins for man accused in fatal Sherry Street shooting

Crime

GUILTY: Trump becomes first former US president convicted of felony crimes

Crime

Doomsday plot: Idaho jury convicts Chad Daybell of killing wife and girlfriend’s 2 children

Local News

WEATHER UPDATE: Potential for severe storms into Saturday

Local News

Sowela awarded nearly $300,000 to support mental health intiativies

Local News

Louisiana may soon require public school classrooms to display the Ten Commandments