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Monday, Nov. 11, 2013

ELECTION UPDATES

2014 will be a year to remember

Boy, oh boy. If you like politics and elections, 2014 is going to be the year for you. Qualifying for the elections will be Aug. 20-22. The primary election is scheduled for Nov. 4, and the runoff is Dec. 6.

Here is what will be on the ballot: U.S. Senate and U.S. House races – The big one, of course, which will draw significant national attention, is the U.S. Senate race where incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking a fourth six-year term. She is being challenged, so far, by two Republicans, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge and Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel from Madisonville. It is expected to be a barnburner of a race.

Landrieu is the last statewide elected Democrat still standing. She has won three close races to hold onto the Senate seat. But Maness is creating problems for Cassidy, the GOP’s anointed candidate, having snapped up the endorsement from almost every Tea Party and conservative group. Maness contends that Cassidy is not conservative enough to defeat Landrieu. As a result of the turmoil within the Louisiana Republican Party, national political analysts have moved this race from “Toss Up” to “Likely Democratic.”

Fourth District U.S. Rep. John Fleming, a Republican from Minden, will run for a fourth two-year term. As of this writing, he has no declared opposition. While the Louisiana Democratic Party has not found a candidate to oppose Fleming, some local Democratic leaders tell me they are determined that he will not go unopposed.

Louisiana Supreme Court race – Longtime Justice Jeff Victory, who represents District 2 on the sevenmember court, is retiring. Caddo District Judge Scott Crichton, a Republican, has announced he is running and has been on the campaign trail for some time. Political analysts consider him a sure bet to win the open seat on the state’s high court. He has no opposition at this time. Supreme Court Justices serve 10-year terms.

Public Service Commission race – Democrat Foster Campbell is looking for a third six-year term on the five-member Louisiana Public Service Commission. He represents District 5, which includes 24 parishes across North Louisiana from the Texas to the Mississippi border. Campbell is extremely popular, and it is unlikely he will have any viable opposition.

Election of Judges – It will be a judicial election years. Up for re-election will be district court, juvenile court and city court judges. All serve six-year terms. Incumbent judges are seldom challenged, but there will be some open seats up for grabs. I will explore those in a future column.

District Attorney’s race – Incumbent Caddo District Attorney Charles Rex Scott, a Democrat, will seek a second six-year term. Scott, who was a District Court judge for several years and is highly respected, is not expected to have major opposition.

Shreveport Mayor’s race – Incumbent Democratic Mayor Cedric Glover, the city’s first black mayor, is term-limited. This race promises to be one of the most interesting in Shreveport history – if all the potential candidates qualify. Already saying they are running are state Rep. Patrick Williams, state Rep. Roy Burrell, City Councilman Sam Jenkins, and Caddo Commissioner Michael Williams. All are African-American Democrats.

But two potential African- American female candidates are being talked about. One is Maxine Sarpy, a registered nurse who is well-known, having served on many local civic and business boards. If she runs, she will have the support of state Sen. Greg Tarver. The other is City Councilwoman Rose Wilson McCulloch, who has also served on the Caddo Commission. Her father was Hersey Wilson, an African-American political pioneer who served in elected office for several years.

Then there is former two-term Mayor Keith Hightower, a white Democrat. He told me he is giving serious consideration to running again for mayor and will make a decision after the first of the year. He could test the theory that Shreveport will never have another white mayor.

Shreveport City Council races – Two of the seven incumbents are term-limited – Joe Shyne and Ron Webb. The big question is whether the city will have for the first time a majority-black council. Black leaders plan to put forth strong candidates in Webb’s District E and in District B, where incumbent Jeff Everson, a white Democrat, is looking for a second term. District B is now majority-black among registered voters.

School Board races – All 12 members of the Caddo Parish School Board will be up for re-election. I will have more on these races in a future column. It is expected that some of the incumbent members will face viable opposition.

Shreveport City Marshal’s race – Incumbent City Marshal Charlie Caldwell’s six-year first term in office has not been without controversy. So far, he has drawn two opponents. They are Don “D.D.” Otis, a retired Shreveport police lieutenant, and Joey Hester, a retired Shreveport police officer, who worked, until recently with the City Marshal’s office. Caldwell and Otis are black; Hester is white.

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