For tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday, candidates will be qualifying for national, statewide, and local races in Louisiana. What may be confusing is that while we will return to open primaries for Congressional races, we are still using party primaries for this year’s Congressional elections only. Meaning that Democrats/Independents may vote in the August 28 Democratic party primary, but only Republicans may vote for Republican candidates in the August 28 party primary. If no party candidate gets 50% of the vote, an October 2 runoff will occur. For statewide/local races, of course, the open primary system is still in place. Below are the major races we will be voting on this year:
August 28 party primary/October 2 party runoff if necessary/November 2 general election:
U.S Senate Race – While the Vitter/Melancon race has been going on for some time now, both candidates still have to get past their parties’ primaries. Senator Vitter will likely have minor primary opposition, while currently, Rep. Melancon is unopposed in the Democratic primary;
All 7 Congressional seats – We are not expecting much action in terms of the August 28 party primary, although the GOP primary for Charlie Melancon’s seat between New Iberia and Chalmette (including Gonzales) will be a hotly contested race. Additionally, at least two Democratic legislators want to recapture a Congressional seat in New Orleans from freshman Republican Joseph Cao;
October 2 primary/November 2 runoff if necessary:
Lieutenant Governor – this office was vacated when Mitch Landrieu was elected Mayor of New Orleans earlier this year. Secretary of State Jay Dardenne is running for this office, but will face stiff opposition from GOP chairman Roger Villere in a race that already has similarities to the 2006 Jay Dardenne/Mike Francis contest that took place when Jay first sought the job of Secretary of State in 2006. In addition to the intraparty feud, there is a question as to whether the Democrats will actively contest this race;
Supreme Court, District 7 – this is the seat of Bernette Johnson in New Orleans that includes most of Orleans Parish and the Westbank of Jefferson Parish.
Public Service Commission Districts 3 and 4 – District 3 is a New Orleans to (inner city) Baton Rouge district held by first termer Lambert Boissiere, while District 4 is a Central and Southwest Louisiana based district that elected Clyde Holloway last year in a special election and, for the first time, gave Republicans a numerical majority on that board. Commissioner Holloway is now seeking a full term to that office;
State Representative District 5 – Term limited incumbent Wayne Waddell (R-Shreveport) will resign effective August 1 to take a museum director’s job. His seat in the southern suburbs of Shreveport should remain in Republican hands, as it has for decades;
State Senate District 2- Ann Duplessis (D-New Orleans) vacated her seat to take a job in the Mitch Landrieu administration in New Orleans. Her district in New Orleans East will remain in Democratic hands, although there is a question as to whether this district will be eliminated after next years’ redistricting;
Local races (School Board, Mayor of Alexandria/Shreveport, Police Chief, and similar local offices)
We will keep an eye on who has qualified, although for those who wish to research this on their own, the Secretary of State keeps this information continuously updated on their site: http://www.sos.louisiana.gov/tabid/165/Default.aspx
John is a political consultant and blogger with JMC Enterprises with expertise in poll sample development and analysis, development of targeted voter files for phone canvassing or mail outs, campaign strategy and demographic consulting, among other things. See his site at WinWithJMC.com for more information.