WEEKLY: Special Election Trend To Continue

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on July 19, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community by subscribing today!

For those playing from their living rooms with the home edition of “The Legislature’s Revolving Door,” both chambers have so far concluded 10 special elections, including a single-candidate House race from this week’s qualifying period. Another two special legislative elections will have wait for the fall ballot, one more needs to be called due to a senator’s unopposed registration for judge this week and there could be up to six more required this term, depending on the fates of various candidacies. 

With senators and representatives haggling over impossible budget issues in seemingly endless special sessions, lawmakers are heading to the exits as quickly as they can — sometimes as if the Capitol were on fire.

The House in particular has experienced record-breaking turnover, losing seven members this term alone. (Most escapees are saying that the gig in Baton Rouge ain’t what it used to be.) As such, there are seven members of the lower chamber running for new jobs on the fall ballot:

— Rep. Julie Stokes is in the contest for secretary of state.

— Rep. Rick Edmonds is too.

— Rep. Chris Hazel is running for a judgeship in the 9th District.

— Rep. Marcus Hunter is campaigning for a gavel in the 4th District.

— Rep. Jeff Hall is also trying to get the top job in Alexandria City Hall, for the second time, but this go around without interference from longtime Mayor Jacques Roy, who is stepping aside.

— Rep. Major Thibaut is eyeing Pointe Coupee Parish president.

— Rep. Kenny Havard has his sights set on West Feliciana Parish president.

The big winners from qualifying were Sen. Jonathan Perry and Rep.-elect Wayne McMahen, who both won their races simply by filling out the paperwork. Perry, the Senate’s resident comedian, will soon be trading the upper chamber for a 3rd Circuit courtroom. McMahen is taking over from former Rep. Gene Reynolds, who resigned to become state parks director. Republicans, who have long coveted the district, were able to flip the seat just by fielding a candidate.

A special election is being held in House District 33 to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Mike Danahay upon his election as mayor of Sulphur. The district, located entirely within Calcasieu Parish, includes the city of Sulphur and rural precincts stretching to the state line. Two Democrats, Les Farnum, a member of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, and Teri Johnson, president of the Calcasieu Federation of Teachers, have qualified. Start Moss, a Sulphur City councilman, is the lone Republican who has done the same. The GOP is hoping to flip the seat, but most are viewing the race as a toss up. Danahay, for his part, will stay out.

St. Tammany Democratic Parish Executive Committee Chair Sean Morrison is the latest name in the race to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Greg Cromer upon his election as mayor of Slidell. Morrison is the only Democrat who qualified. Three Republicans are also now officially in the mix, including John Raymond, a local pastor and one-time ‘Survivor’ contestant; Brian Glorioso, an attorney; and Mary Dubisson, Cromer’s longtime legislative assistant. Cromer has said that he will stay on the sidelines for this one. The district, located entirely within St. Tammany Parish, includes most of the neighborhoods on Slidell’s northern side and a few rural precincts on the city’s outskirts. Republicans are confident about keeping the seat.

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on July 19, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community by subscribing today!

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