Believe it or not, Louisiana does have a major election in just over three weeks. If you trust some of the experts, voters aren’t terribly interested. However, there are a number of reasons why they should be.
Louisiana has six U.S. House contests that are part of the national battle to decide whether Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress. Republicans are considered the favorites in five of this state’s six House races.
Nationwide, 470 congressional seats are up for grabs — 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats. Republicans currently control 51 of the 100 Senate seats, Democrats 47 and there are two independents that caucus with Democrats. Republicans hold 235 House seats, Democrats 193 and 7 seats are vacant.
Both major parties claim the contentious confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh fired up their members. It was definitely a sorry spectacle in this nation’s proud history that we hope never happens again.
The decision about which party controls Congress will probably be decided at the end of voting on Nov.
6. However, if it’s close this state could be a factor. Louisiana’s U.S. House runoffs are Dec. 8, later than other states because of the state’s open primary system.
Louisiana has another major race on Nov. 6. Nine candidates are running for secretary of state in a special election because a sexual harassment allegation forced the resignation of Tom Schedler, the former secretary of state.
Kyle Ardoin, R-Baton Rouge, the first assistant who moved into the job, became one of the nine after saying he wouldn’t seek the office until the last minute. Other candidates have criticized Ardoin’s late entry.
Four women candidates are Mayor Heather Cloud, R-Turkey Creek; Gwen Collins-Greenup, D-Clinton; Renee Fontenot Free, D-Baton Rouge; and state Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Metairie.
The other candidates are former state Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Pearl River; state Rep. Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge; Thomas Kennedy, R-Metairie; and Matthew Paul “Matt” Moreau, no party, Zachary.
Ardoin, Cloud, Crowe, Edmonds, Free and Stokes have the most name recognition because of their prior public service.
The secretary of state’s primary job is the supervision of elections, but the secretary also registers new businesses and archives state documents. Past secretaries have improved the election process and the state system has an excellent record.
Two congressional races are on tap in this corner of the state. U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Lafayette, has six opponents in the 3rd Congressional District race. They are Rob Anderson, D-DeQuincy; Aaron J. Andrus, Libertarian, Westlake; Josh Guillory, R-Lafayette; Mildred “Mimi” Methvin, D-Lafayette; Larry Radar, D-New Iberia; and Verone Thomas, D-Lake Charles.
U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City; has two opponents in the 4th Congressional District contest. They are Mark David Halverson, no party, Bossier City; and Ryan Trundle, DShreveport.
Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis Parish voters ballot in the 3rd District. Allen, Beauregard and Vernon Parish voters are in the 4th District.
Voters in West Calcasieu Parish will be engaged in a special election for Representative District 33 of the state Legislature. Running to replace Mayor Mike Danahay of Sulphur are Democrats Les Farnum and Teri A. Johnson and Republican Stuart Moss. Farnum is a member of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, and Moss is a former member of the Sulphur City Council.
Winners in the secretary of state and representative races will have to run again during statewide elections in 2019.
Calcasieu Parish voters will also be voting in the Lake Charles-Ward 3 marshal’s race. Republican candidates are Karl Gillard, Brad Harris, Jeff Hooper and Vic Salvador. Democratic candidates are Nathan Keller, Bill Pousson and Jimmy Richard.
Other races on the Calcasieu ballot are School Board contests, De-Quincy mayor, Iowa mayor, Westlake chief of police, Iowa and Westlake council members and parish library and courthouse and correctional center tax millage renewals.
Six proposed state constitutional amendments round out the ballot. Amendment No. 1 asks voters if they support prohibiting a convicted felon from seeking or holding public office or appointment within five years of completion of his sentence, unless he is pardoned.
Amendment No. 2 asks voters if they support requiring a unanimous jury verdict in all non-capital felony cases for offenses that are committed on or after Jan. 1, 2019. Current law allows 10-2 verdicts in those type cases.
The American Press will explain the amendments this week.
When Louisiana elected Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy in 2016, the turnout in the primary was 67.8 percent. The turnout dropped to 29.5 percent in the general election.
Voters elected Republican state Treasurer John Schroder in a special election to replace Kennedy on Oct. 24, 2017. The primary turnout was 14.3 percent, and it dropped to 13 percent in the general election.
We can only hope having major races and a full ballot on Nov. 6 will chalk up a higher voter turnout than last year’s pitiful showing. DON’T FORGET — Louisiana voters face a lengthy ballot Nov. 6, which gives them many reasons to show up at the polls.
DON’T FORGET — Louisiana voters face a lengthy ballot Nov. 6, which gives them many reasons to show up at the polls.