Campaign 2019 Underway

Qualifying ended Aug. 8 for the Oct. 12 election. In parishwide races, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, a Republican, is favored over his two Democratic opponents, Carlos Jean and Mark Milligan.

Assessor Brian Wilson, a Republican, has drawn a challenge from Democrat Jonathan Holloway, Sr.

Clerk of Court Doug Welborn, a Republican and former Metro Councilman from Central, is opposed by Democrat Metro Council member Donna Collins-Lewis.

Perhaps the most highly-contested parishwide race is expected to be for Coroner between incumbent Republican Dr. Beau Clark and Democrat Dr. Rani Whitfield.

At the close of qualifying, two Central area legislators were reelected without opposition. Reps. Valarie Hodges (R-Watson) and Barry Ivey (R-Central) will have new four-year terms.

Sen. Bodi White (R-Central) drew  opposition from attorney Rufus Hayes, who is running as a Libertarian Party candidate.

However, two open seats for District Judge from the North Parish sub-district are expected to be competitive between Republicans and Democrats. The sub-district, which includes Baker, Central, and Zachary, is split down the middle racially. A few votes one way or another could decide the outcome.

As of Aug. 1, the North Parish sub-district had 46,379 white voters, 46,665 black voters, and 4,465 of other races. Pundits are giving a slight edge to the Democratic candidates but who turns out to vote is really the key.

An afternoon game between LSU and Florida could hurt Republican candidates, and they are asking their supporters to vote early at the Central Library on Joor Rd. In recent years, the East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging has hauled thousands of Democratic voters to the polls at major elections. The COA, a private organization which receives its funding from a parishwide tax, holds rallies at the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium and gives voters who come prizes if they get on the bus to the Secretary of State office to vote early.

Early voting could prove decisive in a close election such as the two District Judges to be selected from the North Parish sub-district.

Candidates for District Judge for Division A are Democrat Tarvald Smith, a sitting City Court Judge in Baton Rouge, and Republican attorney Beau Brock.

Candidates for District Judge for Division L are Republican Metro Councilman Trae Welch and Democratic attorneys Ron Johnson and Will Jorden. Johnson is the twin brother of District Judge Don Johnson who represents the minority sub-district in the inner city of Baton Rouge.


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