LIVE BLOG: Qualifying Week 2015, Day 1

Welcome to the craziest three days in Louisiana politics, qualifying week. This is the week when wannabe candidates have to put up or shut up. By 5PM on Thursday, we will know who is actually running for what in Louisiana.

In order to keep this live blog simple, I’m going to post the most recent developments at the top of the page so hit the refresh button often.

5:07 PM: Qualifying is now over for the day. However, there are two more days of it. As of right now, all statewide office holders have challengers. Interestingly, no one has qualified yet for 4 seats in the State House. I imagine that will change tomorrow.

4:58 PM: Incumbent State Rep. Joseph Bouie (D-New Orleans) is facing a challenge in District 97 from jazz musician, Republican Eustis Guillemet Jr.

4:44 PM: House District 66 is another race that’s starting to take shape. Incumbent State Rep. Darrell Ourso (R-Baton Rouge) is facing a challenge from fellow Republican Rusty Secrist and Democrat Antoine Pierce.

4:38 PM: State Rep. Terry Brown is facing a challenger in House District 22. Republican John Stephens qualified to run against him. Brown has no party affiliation, but essentially votes like a Democrat.

4:32 PM: Here’s another interesting race that’s going to go down. State Rep. Marcus Hunter (D-Monroe) has qualified for reelection today. But he’s facing an opponent, Republican Heath Albritton.

4:27 PM: If Democrats want to win back the State House, they need to field more candidates for starters. They have only fielded candidates in 43 state house races so far. You need to control 53 seats to win a majority. Democrats already appear to be preparing for more losses in the Legislature this year.

4:18 PM: Another race shaping up is House District 5 where Republican State Rep. Alan Seabaugh is being challenged by Eileen Velez, who is a far-left Democrat. We don’t anticipate Seabaugh will have any problems holding his seat.

4:13 PM: Returning to the State Senate. We have a race shaping for the open seat of Democrat State Sen. Ben Nevers in District 12. Nevers is term limited. We have two Republicans, Brett Duncan and Beth Mizell, running against a Democrat, “Mickey” Murphy, and John Seal who is running under no partisan affiliation. District 12 contains parts of Washington Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, and St. Tammany Parish.

4:06 PM: We have a press release from Jennifer Treadway, who is running for Treasurer against John Kennedy.

Baton Rouge, LA—Jennifer Treadway, a business and regulatory attorney, qualified for State Treasurer against 4 term incumbent John Kennedy today. She is running for State Treasurer to be the reasonable voice of the taxpayers of Louisiana. She will demand accountability for our fiscal future and aggressively protect and invest tax payer money to ensure our future. She will use modern technology to develop a secure online system to refund money quickly from the Unclaimed Property Division. She will work across party lines to solve problems. Most importantly, she will use the authority as chief financial officer to protect the taxpayers from abuse of power by the Governor, state departments, and public entities on personal spending; demanding accountability and recovery from those who breach the taxpayers’ trust.

The failures of Bobby Jindal and John Kennedy as Chief Executives have kept Louisiana at the bottom of the good lists for far too long. Their fiscal irresponsibility and tyrannical leadership have prevented Louisiana from progressing,” stated Treadway.

Louisiana deserves a Treasurer who will focus on being Treasurer of Louisiana, not on seeking a higher office. Louisiana voters need a fresh face with new ideas who can work to solve problems. Louisiana needs a real leader. I am that leader,” Treadway vowed.

For more information on Jennifer and her campaign visit www.jennifertreadway.com.

4:02 PM: This is from Andre Comeaux, who is the only qualified candidate so far running in House District 45. The seat is an open Republican seat.

André Comeaux officially qualified as a candidate for State Representative of District 45 today at the Clerk of Courts office in Lafayette.

Comeaux, a 54-year-old Republican and native of Lafayette is running in the open seat being vacated by Joel Robideaux. The primary election will be held on Saturday, October 24th.

“To get our state back on a path to fiscal sanity, provide our children a quality education and create better jobs for our families, it’s going to take new conservative leadership.  I’m excited about the opportunity to share my conservative vision with the voters and look forward to the weeks ahead,” said Comeaux.

André Comeaux is a graduate of University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After working in the oil field and serving as a Drilling Engineer for a major oil company, Comeaux built a successful commercial insurance business. Comeaux is a conservative who believes defending the right to life, the 2nd Amendment and protecting families and businesses from an overreaching federal government.

Comeaux has been active in the Lafayette community having served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and as President of the Acadiana Safety Association Board of Governors. He was an active volunteer as President of the Woodvale Elementary School Parent Teacher Council and Lafayette High Band Booster. Comeaux faithfully supports the Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Comeaux has been married to his wife Angie Perrin Comeaux for 27 years and they have two daughters, Claire and Camille.

District 45 encompasses much of the University of Louisiana Lafayette and surrounding communities inside the city. For more information about André Comeaux’s campaign, please visit: www.Andrécomeaux.org.

3:58 PM: Next one is from Scott McKnight, who is running in Senate District 16 against incumbent State Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge). Although Claitor has not qualified yet for the race.

Baton Rouge businessman Scott McKnight qualified to run for the Louisiana State Senate in District 16 this morning. Eager to bring new leadership to the state legislature, Scott was the first candidate in line at the Clerk of Court’s office.

“Having never qualified for elected office, it was exciting to see how the process works,” McKnight said. “I’m excited to officially put my name on the ballot.”

“We have received a tremendous response throughout the district, and we look forward to continuing the momentum that we’ve been able to build over the last six weeks.”

McKnight, Vice President and Director of Business Development for BancorpSouth Insurance, is married to Elizabeth Allgood McKnight. They are lifelong residents of Baton Rouge and have two children. The McKnights are parishioners at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church.

Scott attended University High School. He earned his undergraduate degree in 2003 and MBA in 2006 at LSU. He is a reserve deputy for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. He has donated hundreds of hours that have included Uniform Patrol, Traffic Enforcement, DUI Enforcement, Sex Crimes Division, and the Training Division.

He currently serves on the boards of the Better Business Bureau, Companion Animal Alliance, and Cancer Services of Baton Rouge.

Scott has been a competitive shooter and is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment and member of the NRA. He is an avid hunter and fisherman. He is pro-life and a supporter of traditional values.

He is an advocate of reforming Louisiana’s budget process to fund the state’s priorities and preventing the annual crises that threaten LSU and healthcare. He supports parental choice in education and will work to ensure that all children in Louisiana have an opportunity to receive an adequate education.

In addition to reforming Louisiana’s broken budgetary and tax system, McKnight believes that Louisiana must address our crumbling infrastructure, failing public education system and litigious judicial climate in order for Louisiana’s economy to continue to grow.

McKnight knows the challenges that law enforcement agencies face in combating crime in the capital region and will work to help provide them with the necessary resources.

3:52 PM: Next release comes from Phillip DeVillier, who has qualified to run in House District 41. He is running against Greg Fruge in an all Republican race for the open Democratic seat.

EUNICE- Local business man, Phillip DeVillier, officially qualified for the State Representative, District 41 race this afternoon at the St. Landry Clerk of Court office in Opelousas on the opening day of qualifying.

“Since announcing my candidacy, I have traveled the district, heard the concerns of so many people and have received an abundant amount of support. It’s time to send elected officials to Baton Rouge that understand what it means to work and live within a budget, it’s time to put our Conservative principles back to work and it’s time for new leaders to take the reins and fight for the people they represent, not special interests,” said DeVillier.

DeVillier was born and raised in Eunice. After graduating from LSU, he moved back to his home community to work with his father’s house moving business where he spent years as an “apprentice” before eventually starting his own house moving business-DeVillier House Movers- over 12 years ago. DeVillier also owns a property rental and development business dealing with residential development- Savannah Claire, Inc. He has created jobs for the people of the district, continues to meet payroll, and has a deep understanding of the issues facing small businesses and entrepreneurs.

DeVillier is married to Lisa Savoy DeVillier, his high school sweetheart. They have 3 children- Savannah, Jillian and Cooper. They are active members of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. DeVillier graduated from St. Edmund High School, attended LSUE- the college that his grandfather helped bring to the community and where his wife’s grandfather was the first Dean. He went on to graduate from LSU, Baton Rouge, with a B.S. in Business Management.

The election for State Representative will be held on October 24th. House District 41 encompasses parts of Acadia, Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes including the municipalities of Eunice, Church Point, Basile, and Iota.

3:48 PM: Back to the Legislature. First, let me post some press releases. First release is from Pat Phillips, who has qualified to run in House District 89 against St. Tammany Parish Councilman Reid Falconer in an all Republican affair, so far.

Mandeville – Republican Committeeman Pat Phillips qualified today for State Representative District 89. Pat served as a Naval Aviator for 20 years during Desert Storm and the first Persian Gulf War. Pat is a Registered Republican and has called Mandeville home since 1998.

Phillips said “I am the son of a WWII Veteran and the grandson of a WWI Veteran. My life has been dedicated to serving our country, having retired as a Major in the U. S. Marine Corps. As a Marine, I served as a Navy Aviator, for approximately twenty-one years. I flew combat missions in Operation Desert Storm during the first Persian Gulf War. While flying combat missions, I had to keep my cool, stay focused on the goal, maintain order among my subordinates and build alliances with fellow Marine Officers and Enlisted Marines. I have proven self-discipline and the leadership abilities needed to excel in the Louisiana Legislature.”

Phillips not only met, but exceeded the 400 petition signatures required to gain access to the ballot. “I believe that politics belongs to the people in District 89. That is why I went door to door to collect enough signatures to run in this election. I want to show the voters that I will be an open and honest Representative who will genuinely listen to their concerns.”

Phillips is trained in tax preparation, giving him a unique look at the failing tax system. “I have an understanding of the complexities of tax policy that will allow me to immediately help in meeting the financial challenges of running Louisiana’s state government. Too often political leaders in Baton Rouge and Washington have tried to micro-manage every problem that comes along. They rarely look at the long term impact on our future. I will work to change that.”

Pat stated “I am a registered Republican and I am committed to family values. Put simply, I am running to get Government out of the way. Government shouldn’t be meddling in local education, or managing your access to healthcare. I will work to enable a strong economy that will stimulate all sectors. “
Phillip has lead a life of servitude. He is ready to serve and work hard to represent the people of District 89 as their State Representative.

Pat Phillips is on the Republican Central Committee and is on the Board of the Meadowbrook Homeowners Association. Phillips attends Our Lake of the Lake Catholic Church and is an active member of the Knights of Columbus and Men’s Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8720, and the American Legion Post No. 415. He is the past Chairman of the St. Tammany Parish President’s Veterans and Military Advisory Council and a member of the North Shore Kiwanis Club. Pat and his wife, Barbara, is a registered Pharmacist and they have raised three successful children, Patrick, Christina, and Natalie.

3:21 PM: No real changes in the statewide offices except Treasurer John Kennedy qualified for reelection.

We’re now moving over to the BESE races, which should actually be interesting this year with the Common Core debate. Common Core’s opponents are pushing a multi-partisan slate called Flip BESE. It is in the BESE races that we’ve had our first qualifying day party switch.

In the BESE District 1 race, incumbent member Jim Garvey qualified for reelection. Opposing him will be Democrat turned Republican Lee Barrios who ran against him in 2011.

No candidate has filed yet in BESE District 2.

In BESE District 3, charter school director Sandy Holloway has qualified for it as a Republican.

In BESE District 4, Mary Harris, who was appointed to the seat by Governor Jindal, is qualifying for her first full term.

In BESE District 5, former Rapides Parish School Superintendent Gary Jones has qualified as a Republican for the race.

In BESE District 6, Kathy Edmonston, who works for the Ascension Parish School Board qualifed for the race. She’s a member of the Ascension Parish Republican Executive Committee.

BESE District 7 has Holly Franks Boffy, who is a Republican.

BESE District 8 is going to be an all Democrat affair for now. Incumbent Carolyn Hill is facing a challenge from LSU assistant dean of engineering Jada Lewis.

12:00 PM: One of the staples of qualifying day is qualifying theater. Some of it is pretty good, such as “Air Landrieu” which was put on by the Louisiana Republican Party last year.

Meanwhile, some of it is just awful like this idiot who was waiting for David Vitter this morning.

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This moron is Daniel Lazo and he’s with the LSU College Democrats.

11: 41 AM: Here are some updates on statewide offices. John Kennedy, whenever he qualifies, will have an opponent for treasurer. Baton Rouge attorney Jennifer Treadway is running against him as a Republican. Here’s all you need to know about this “race.”

Chris Tyson has qualified for Secretary of State as a Democrat. Jim Donelon has qualified for reelection for Insurance Commissioner. Also, Beryl Billiot is running for governor.

10:34 AM: Staying in suburban New Orleans, we move across the lake to St. Tammany. This Republican stronghold is expecting every office to be hotly contested with the exception of parish president.

The parish council races are quiet right now. Just a few incumbents have qualified for reelection so far.

Two of the more hotly contested parishwide races, Sheriff and Clerk of Court already have people qualifying. Just to set the stage, this parish has seen its Coroner go to Federal prison and its former District Attorney is under Federal investigation.

The Sheriff’s Office has played a role in the Walter Reed saga, issuing an honorary deputy page to his brother. This has fed into the general anti-incumbent mood in that parish. As a result, Sheriff Jack Strain is facing the strongest challenge of his career. Former Federal agent Scott Illing has already qualified for the race. Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith is also expected to qualify against Strain.

The Clerk of Court’s office is wide open. Current Clerk of Court Malice Prieto has decided not to run for reelection after corruption allegations were made surrounding her office. Three candidates have qualified so far for the race. Covington attorney Nelson Rivers is in the race. Along with Matt Faust, a former Covington City Councilman, and Melissa Henry, a deputy clerk of court who handles the land records.

10:25 AM: One statewide office update before we start moving to parish races, Ag Commissioner Mike Strain has qualified for reelection.

We’re starting our journey on the parish level in St. Bernard. That parish’s presidency is set to be hotly contested. Right now, we have three candidates who have qualified so far. Wayne Landry and Ricky Melerine, both Democrats. They’re joined by the only Republican so far in the race, Jimmy Roques. We expect them to be joined by more candidates.

10:11 AM: State Rep. A.B. Franklin (D-Lake Charles) already has two opponents in House District 34. The freshman state rep has drawn another black Democrat, Alvin Joseph, and a white Republican, Tom Quirk. Interestingly, Franklin is one of the more conservative members of the Legislative Black Caucus.

10:02 AM: The legislative races are at a trickle right now. The only ones who have qualified in a few districts are incumbents seeking reelection.

The is one interesting exception. Senate District 29 is an open seat with the retirement of Democrat State Sen. Rick Gallot. We have Joshua Joy Dara Sr., who is a black Republican, running against Jay Luneau, who is a white Democrat. Dara is a pastor and an attorney while Luneau is also an attorney.

9:55 AM: The Attorney General’s race is set. Jeff Landry, Buddy Caldwell, and Marty Maley have all qualified. The only surprise we’re watching for is if a Democrat qualifies.

9:50 AM: As for the other statewide offices, not many surprises yet. The Lieutenant Governor’s race has all three of its serious Republicans; John Young, Billy Nungesser, and State Sen. Elbert Guillory. No one has qualified yet for Secretary of State or Treasurer. However, the no names are the first ones to qualify for Agriculture Commissioner and Commissioner of Insurance.

“Ace” Juttner from Abita Springs has qualified to run for Ag Commissioner for the Green Party. Meanwhile, Matt Parker of West Monroe has qualified to run for Insurance Commissioner as a Republican.

Oh and Cary Deaton from Metairie has qualified to run for Governor as a Democrat.

9:30 AM: All four of serious candidates have now officially qualified to run for governor. Now we wait to see what no names, has beens, and surprise candidates join them.

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