Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS – Qualifying begins Wednesday for statewide and local races on the Nov. 6 ballot, including competition for the state’s six congressional districts, as well as New Orleans City Council and school board races.
Congressional redistricting should make for one of the more contentious races on the regional ballot, with the new sixth congressional district race expected to pit two incumbent Republican congressmen against each other – Jeff Landry and Charles Boustany. The redrawn district now includes parts of St. Charles, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, as well as much of southwestern Louisiana. The state Republican party says it will stay out of the race and not throw its support to a candidate, unless a Republican candidate faces a Democrat in the runoff.
The races in the other two local congressional districts will likely be much tamer, with incumbents Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond both expected to seek re-election in what could be quiet races.
Congressional candidates will qualify at the Secretary of State’s office in Baton Rouge. Other local candidates will sign up at their parish clerk of court’s office.
Some of the other more closely-watched races will be in Orleans Parish, with qualifying underway for two special elections for City Council. Candidates will sign up to run for the District B and District E seats. District B was vacated when Stacy Head was elected to an at-large post. District E opened up with Jon Johnson pleaded guilty to federal charges.
At least five indicated their plans to run for the District E seat, which covers New Orleans East and the Ninth Ward: state lawmaker Austin Badon (who lost the race to Johnson in 2010); attorneys Dana Henry and James Gray; businessman Willie Jones; activist Jerrelda Drummer-Sanders and possibly several others who are said to be considering the race.
At least three people have said they will qualify for the District B seat, covering parts of Uptown and Central City: Broadmoor community activist and neighborhood leader LaToya Cantrell; Dana Kaplan of the Juvenile Justice Project; and Eric Strachan, who has worked on the council staffs for Jackie Clarkson and Stacy Head.
Orleans Parish School Board seats are also on the Nov. 6 ballot. Candidates will qualify for seats on the board which will receive even more scrutiny in the coming year, with several schools poised to return to local control after several years under the leadership of charters or the state’s Recovery School District.
There are also several judicial races on the metro area ballot. In Orleans Parish, candidates will run for a Criminal District Court judgeship, with Judge Lynda Van Davis’ announcement that she will be stepping down. Some Municipal Court and Traffic Court judgeships are also on the New Orleans ballot as well as Second City Court clerk and constable posts.
There are also several appeals court judgeships on the ballot, covering various local parishes along with a Public Service Commission seat, covering several parishes.
Jefferson Parish will see a judicial race as well, with candidates running to replace longtime Judge Patrick McCabe, who announced his retirement.
On the north shore, Abita Springs voters will elect a new mayor, with candidates signing up to run for the post held by Louis Fitzmorris, who was elected St. Tammany Parish assessor.
For a look at the candidates who qualify, log on to the Secretary of State’s web site.
Qualifying closes Friday afternoon.