East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court Doug Welborn drew a challenger — only his second in 24 years on the job — during the final minutes of qualifying Thursday.
Welborn is running for his seventh term in office and he has been opposed during only one of those elections. It appeared he would go unopposed again until fellow Republican Sarah Holliday-James entered the clerk of court race, saying she wants to bring professionalism over politics to the job.
Holliday-James was one of East Baton Rouge’s many last-minute entries into the Oct. 24 primary election. Qualifying ended Thursday.
“The clerk needs independence, integrity and fresh ideas,” Holliday-James said. She is a former judicial assistant to 19th Judicial District Court Judges Trudy White and Donald Johnson.
Welborn said he is excited and ready to campaign for another four years in office.
“We never go on the philosophy that we’re going to be unopposed,” he said. “I’m very proud of the fact that the people have let me be in the office for this amount of time.”
Two new prospective judges also entered a crowded field for the new at-large position on the City Court. Lawyer Tiffany Foxworth and Assistant State Attorney General Whitney Higginbotham Greene entered the race against Jeffrey Wittenbrink, Grant Miller and Tarvald Smith.
Competition also heated up for the Legislature’s 63rd District House seat. Dalton Honore, a Democrat, vacated the seat to run for state senate.
Former Metro Councilman Ulysses “Bones” Addison, a Democrat known for stirring controversy during his time both on and off the council, jumped into the race on the last day of qualifying. Addison lost his bid to become the East Baton Rouge Parish registrar of voters in June.
He will face off against Southern University Dean Barbara West Carpenter, lawyer Joyce Plummer, former Metro Council candidate James Slaughter Jr. and businessman Dean “Deaneaux” Vicknair. Everyone in the race is a Democrat.
Former Metro Councilman Byron Sharper also entered the race for the Legislature’s 61st District House seat on Thursday. He will vie for the seat against current Councilwomen Donna Collins-Lewis and C. Denise Marcelle. All three are Democrats.
The seat was held by Alfred Williams, who died last month.
Marcelle defeated Sharper for her current Metro Council seat. Sharper said in February that he was mulling a run for East Baton Rouge mayor-president in 2016.
The race for the seat that state Rep. Regina Barrow occupied also gained new candidates. Barrow, a Democrat who represented the 29th District, is running for state Senate.
Louisiana Educational Advancement Project CEO Daniel Banguel entered the race for Barrow’s old seat Thursday. Banguel, a Democrat, will run against three others in his party. Metro Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards, attorney Edmond Jordan and School Board member Vereta Lee are all in the race.
Barrow and Honore are running for the state Senate’s 15th District seat, which was occupied by Sharon Weston Broome. Broome is running for East Baton Rouge mayor-president in 2016.
Barrow and Honore, both Democrats, got a new challenger Thursday in Republican Jerrie Davenport Williams.
State Sen. Dan Claitor also saw a third challenger for his 16th District seat. Brent Campanella, a doctor who listed “other” for his party, will compete with Claitor for the seat. Claitor also will face fellow Republican Scott McKnight.
Though he started campaigning weeks ago, Metro Councilman Ryan Heck, a Republican, also waited until Thursday to qualify for the race for the Legislature’s 69th District House seat. He is running against Republican Paula Davis and Democrat Mark Holden.
Republican Kenny Havard gained one challenger for his 62nd District House seat. Democrat Ronnie Jett, who ran for the seat in 2011, will run again.
For the 68th District House seat, Democrat Patty Merrick entered the race against Republicans Robert Cade Cipriano and Steve Carter.
Several races in Ascension Parish also drew new candidates Thursday.
Paulette Porter LaBostrie, a Republican from Geismar, is challenging first-term Assessor M.J. “Mert” Smiley Jr., a Republican from St. Amant.
A fifth candidate entered the wide-open race for Ascension Parish president Thursday. Ricky Diggs, a Democrat from Gonzales, is running against three Republicans, Clint Cointment, Chris Loar and Kenny Matassa, and one other Democrat, Clarence Henry Jr. of Gonzales. They are vying to replace four-term Parish President Tommy Martinez, who is not seeking re-election.
Miguel Aubert, a Democrat from Vacherie, is the second man to challenge one-term state Rep. Ed Price, D-Gonzales. Aubert qualified Wednesday while challenger Nathaniel Rapp Jr., a Democrat from Darrow in Ascension, qualified Tuesday in the House District 58 race.
On the Parish Council, William C. “Billy” Hayward III, of Donaldsonville (“other” party), and Kerry Jamal Williams, a Democrat also from Donaldsonville, both qualified Thursday to challenge 1st District Councilman Oliver Joseph, a Democrat.
In District 2, Philip Goppelt qualified Thursday to challenge William “Bill” Dawson for the open seat. The winner will replace outgoing Councilman Kent Schexnaydre, who is not seeking re-election. Goppelt and Dawson are Republicans.
In District 4, Alan “Boxcar” Braud Jr., a Republican from Prairieville, qualified Thursday to challenge first-term Republican Daniel “Doc” Satterlee, also of Prairieville.
In Livingston Parish, Councilman Ricky Goff, a Republican from Walker, laid to rest any speculation he might challenge Parish President Layton Ricks for his job. Goff qualified in the final hour to seek re-election to his District 7 seat. He will face Walker City Councilman Tracy Girlinghouse, also a Republican, who entered the Parish Council race Tuesday.
Brian Ross, a Republican from Denham Springs, signed up Thursday to seek the District 3 seat being vacated by Councilwoman Cindy Wale Franz. Ross will face Democratic candidate Paeton Burkett and fellow Republican Maurice “Scooter” Keen.
Ross’s qualifying brought to five the number of Parish Council districts in which there will be a three-person race. All nine seats are looking at competitive bids.
West Baton Rouge Parish had only one new person enter a parish race on the last day of qualifying.
Democrat Kirk Allain qualified Thursday for the District 1 seat on the Parish Council. He’ll face fellow Democrat Wilson “Hook” Cazes in October.
In Iberville Parish, Ryan Young Sr., a Democrat from Bayou Goula, and Stanley “Spookie” Robert, a Republican, filed qualifying papers Thursday for the District 3 seat on Parish Council. Both men will face incumbent Henry “Bucket” Scott and Thomas E. Dominique Sr., both Democrats.
St. Gabriel’s Catherine Williams, a Democrat, also qualified on the last day for the council’s District 4 seat. Incumbent Leonard “Buck” Jackson, also a Democrat, qualified Tuesday.
The Parish Council’s District 6 race saw two additional candidates qualify Thursday. Oveal “Tootie” Gales and Jerald Wilson round out a race that also includes fellow Democrats Morticia “Poonie” Pierce, Courtney P. Lewis and Ronald “Rono” Arnaud.
Three Pointe Coupee Parish residents qualified Thursday for district seats on the Police Jury.
Mitch Langlois qualified for the District 2 race against incumbent Democrat John “Sassy” Pourciau.
Sheila Bethely Davis, a Democrat, dropped her name into the race to become the next District 3 representative on the Police Jury. Four other Democrats already qualified for the same seat earlier this week.
And Martinette Marie Myer rounds out the final qualifier for the parish. Myer, a Democrat, will run for the District 8 seat against incumbent Cornell Dukes and Gloria Marie Harris, both Democrats.
Terry Jones, David Mitchell and Heidi Kinchen contributed to this report.