What’s expected to be a lively campaign season formally began Tuesday with the start of qualifying for the Oct. 24 election.
In Lafayette Parish, the races for sheriff, city-parish president, two City-Parish Council seats and two legislative seats are wide open this year because the incumbents either chose not to run for re-election or had to step aside because of term limits.
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, and City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley both signed up Tuesday to replace City-Parish President Joey Durel, who is serving his third and final term.
Robideaux and Stanley, both of whom have been campaigning for several months, are the only two candidates who have announced an interest in the seat.
Three City-Parish Council members were unchallenged at the close of qualifying Tuesday: District 1 Councilman Kevin Naquin, District 4 Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux and District 9 Councilman William Theriot.
All other council incumbents attracted opposition in the first day of qualifying.
Charlotte Stemmans Clavier is running against District 2 Councilman Jay Castille, veterinarian Monique Koll is challenging District 5 Councilman Jared Bellard, and former Councilman Bruce Conque is in the race for his old District 6 seat against incumbent Andy Naquin.
The District 3 race attracted Patrick Lewis, an auditor with the Lafayette Parish school system, and businessman John Petersen. District 3 incumbent Brandon Shelvin did not sign up to run on Tuesday, but he has said he plans to seek re-election.
Two council seats are open after District 7 Councilman Don Bertrand and District 8 Councilman Keith Patin both announced earlier this year that they would not seek re-election.
In District 7, teacher Nanette Cook and Joseph “Bobby” Richard, pastor at Hope Alive Freedom Church in Lafayette, qualified on Tuesday.
The District 8 race candidates as of Tuesday are Elizabeth Webb Hebert, convention sales manager for the Cajundome; and Gerald Judice, one of the owners of Judice Inn restaurant.
In the race for Lafayette Parish sheriff, Scott Police Chief Chad Leger and Lafayette attorney Mark Garber formally joined the race to replace four-term incumbent Mike Neustrom, who is not seeking re-election.
Leger became police chief of Scott in 2003 after working for 12 years at the Sheriff’s Office. Garber, a worker’s compensation attorney and former 15th Judicial District prosecutor, has worked in law enforcement in Acadiana, in Texas and at the federal level.
Two more candidates — Louisiana State Police veteran Rick Chargois and John Rogers, a litigation specialist with the Sheriff’s Office — are expected to qualify this week.
Among the most closely watched legislative races in Acadiana is the campaign to fill the state Senate seat of Elbert Guillory, a Republican whose District 24 covers much of St. Landry Parish and some of north Lafayette Parish, including sections of the city of Lafayette.
Guillory, from Opelousas, is running for lieutenant governor.
Ledricka Johnson Thierry, a Democrat from Opelousas who is the current House District 40 representative, and Gerald Boudreaux, a Democrat from Lafayette, qualified to run Tuesday for the Senate seat.
Another legislative race attracting attention is the contest for House District 45 to replace Robideaux, who cannot seek a fourth term in the House.
District 45 candidates who qualified Tuesday are Andre Comeaux and Jan Swift, both Republicans living in Lafayette.
Another District 45 candidate, Jean-Paul Coussan, is expected to sign up by Thursday’s deadline.
Several incumbent legislators signed up Tuesday, including Republican Rep. Nancy Landry, who represents District 31 in southwest Lafayette Parish and north Vermilion Parish; Rep. Stuart Bishop, of Lafayette, a Republican representing District 43 in south Lafayette Parish; Rep. Vincent Pierre, a Democrat representing District 44 in north Lafayette Parish; and Rep. Jack Montoucet, a Democrat from Scott who represents District 42 in Acadia and Lafayette parishes.
Also qualifying was Page Cortez, the Republican incumbent for Senate District 23 in Lafayette.
Qualifying continues through Thursday.