The scouting report for Louisiana elections used to read “Vote early and vote often.” And while this generally referred to Louisiana’s infamous Election Day corruption, it also poked fun at the numerous election days we held. Some years it seemed voting was a weekend activity in the Bayou State. Not so much in 2014. This year we only have one real election cycle, but it will be a big one for northwest Louisiana.
While voting will officially take place on April 5 and May 3, that cycle will likely only include a few open Police Jury seats and tax renewals. Serious political action (and money) will be on the Nov. 4 and Dec. 6 ballots.
Topping the card will be the race for the seat currently held by U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. Landrieu (D) will be seeking her fourth term and has already drawn significant opponents in U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy (R) and Col. Rob Maness (R). Landrieu is no stranger to hard-fought campaigns and is likely to find another fight ahead as one of the last Democrat Senators remaining in the Deep South. U.S. Senators serve six-year terms. Sen. David Vitter was re-elected in 2012 and will not be on the ballot. Congressman run every two years but no major challenge is expected in 2014 to Rep. John Fleming (R).
Closer to home it’s time to elect a new Mayor and City Council in Shreveport. With current Mayor Cedric Glover term limited, the race in Shreveport is expected to be wide open. Worth watching is whether the Caddo Republicans officially offer a candidate this cycle or quietly work to support one of the many minority candidates. Many other cities will find themselves voting for mayors including Mooringsport, Vivian, Belcher and Plain Dealing.
Last year “we the people” voted term limits on local school board members. The clock on those term limits now starts and this is the first election since that vote and the recent education reforms. All board members in all parishes will be on the ballot and many observers feel we may see significant turnover on several local boards.
Also expected to draw heated contests are the local races for City Marshall. While these offices are often overlooked and little understood by voters, the dynamics and players shaping up to run make for a potential interesting campaign season.
Also of interest will be elections for all District Attorneys and most judgeships in the region. Topping that section of the ballot will be the race to replace Supreme Court Judge Jeff Victory who is retiring, but races will also be held for all District Judge positions, City Courts, Justice of the Peace positions and in Caddo, the Juvenile Court. Foster Campbell is also up for reelection to the Public Service Commission and no major challenger is expected.
You can still vote early in Louisiana as we have the longest poll hours in the country from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can also now officially vote early for any reason at the Registrar of Voters office during the early voting period. However, please note: limit one vote per person.
-- D. Scott Hughes