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Monday, July 31, 2017

SLIM PICKINGS

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Not much on Oct. 14 ballot

Oct. 14 is election day in Louisiana.

But few people seem to care, and the voter turnout will likely be below 20 percent. The reason is there is not a whole lot on the ballot and few local races to stir up interest and get voters to the polls. Well, there are a couple. There’s a race for Bossier-Webster District Judge between Lane Pittard of Benton and Cynthia Carroll-Bridges of Bossier City. And in Caddo, there is a special election to fill the District 12 seat on the Caddo Commission, where seven candidates qualified. That’s about it for the local scene.

There is only one statewide race on the ballot, and that’s a special election for state treasurer, not one of the most glamorous offices. Seven candidates qualified for the seat to replace longtime Treasurer John Kennedy, who was elected to the U.S. Senate. A recent poll showed that 55 to 59 percent of those surveyed had not heard of any of the candidates running.

That means the candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their name recognition and public profile. The race really boils down to a contest between three candidates out of the seven. They are John Schroder, Angele Davis and Neil Riser. They have been raising money, while the other four candidates are struggling.

Schroder is a Republican from Covington, who is a small businessman and real estate developer. He resigned his state representative seat to make the race. He is leading the money race, mainly because he had $500,000 in his campaign fund at the beginning of the year. He has raised another $303,813 since Jan. 1 through July 6. So far, he has spent $155,332 on the race, leaving him with a hefty campaign war chest of $638,279 cash on hand as of July 6.

Davis is a Republican from Baton Rouge, who is president and CEO of the Davis Kelley Group. She was the budget chief in the administration of Gov. Bobby Jindal and has the backing of former Gov. Mike Foster. Davis started with zero dollars at the first of the year, but has already raised $371,664, while spending only $53,754 through July 6. That leaves her with $315,373 cash on hand.

Riser is a Republican from Columbia who is a state senator and a funeral home owner.

He started out with $20,193 in his campaign fund and has raised $335,162 between Jan. 1 and July 6.

His expenditures on the race so far total $153,197, leaving him with $201,407 cash on hand as of July 6.

The other four candidates in the race will not be able to match the fundraising ability of the three frontrunners.

A Democrat did qualify. He is Derrick Edwards of Baton Rouge. He has not raised any money yet, and it is not known if the state Democratic Party will contribute to his campaign. There is Ron Caeser, an Independent from Opelousas; Terry Hughes, a Republican from Lafayette; and Joseph D. Little, a Libertarian from Ponchatoula.

The race for the District 12 seat on the Caddo Commission, as noted, drew seven candidates. Louis Johnson is the interim commissioner, chosen by the Commission to replace Ken Epperson Sr., who resigned. He qualified. Others running include John Cunningham, a white Republican; Darius Zamar Kimble, Joyce M. Lawrence, Fred Moss IV and Kay Proby-Walker, all black Democrats; and Whitney R. Williams, who lists her race as other.

The winner will fill out the remainder of Epperson’s term, which runs through Jan. 13, 2020.

There are 14,971 registered voters in District 12. Of that total, 40 percent are white, 56 percent black, and 4 percent other races.

Lou Gehrig Burnett, an award-winning journalist, has been involved with politics for 44 years and was a congressional aide in Washington, D.C., for 27 years. He also served as executive assistant to former Shreveport Mayor “Bo” Williams. Burnett is the publisher of the weekly “FaxNet Update” and can be reached at 861-0552 or louburnett@comcast.net.

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