Mills, Champagne to duel for senate seat?

State Rep. Fred Mills tells the Abbeville Meridional he is planning to run for the District 22 state Senate seat recently vacated by Troy Hebert (Hebert is the new Commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control). A Jan. 22 special election has been called for the district, which includes both St. Martin and Iberia Parish, to fill the brief remainder of Hebert’s unexpired term. The seat will then be back on the ballot for regular elections in the fall of 2011, to determine who will represent the district for the four year term beginning in 2012. Mills, a Democrat, is the popular president and chief executive officer at Farmers-Merchants Bank & Trust Co, known for his colorful personality often on display in TV ads both for to promote his bank and Cashway Pharmacy. He’s also wrapping up his first term in the state legislature (he would be up for re-election next year).  Mills tells the Meridional he plans to soon make a formal announcement for the race. He did not return a call for comment from The Independent.

Also reportedly eyeing the race is Iberia Parish state Rep. Simone Champagne, a Republican. In his LaPolitics Weekly, John Maginnis reports Champagne is expected to announce soon, with a coalition of GOP officials behind her. Champagne could not be reached this morning for comment.  The other oft-mentioned potential candidate is Craig Romero, who held the District 22 state senate post prior to Hebert. Romero, however is prevented by term limits from running in the special election. He would be eligible to run for the seat next fall.

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