Qualifying for the Oct. 22 election concluded Thursday without any big-name challengers to Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Nine people, ranging from a north Louisiana schoolteacher to a disgruntled former state worker, with little financial backing are opposing Jindal’s re-election bid.
The slate in the governor’s race now includes the Republican Jindal, a Libertarian, four Democrats and four candidates without a party affiliation.
The Louisiana Democratic Party failed to field a well-known or well-financed contender for any of offices elected statewide. The party’s executive director, Renee Lapeyrolerie, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
One of the governor’s opponents, schoolteacher Ivo “Trey” Roberts, of Gretna, said he is running because Jindal strayed from conservative values.
“This governor has failed to recognize the tea party at all. He’s not spoken at any of our events. He’s failed to acknowledge us. We feel it is a snub,” said Roberts, a Democrat and a member of the Greater New Orleans Tea Party.
Another gubernatorial candidate, Democrat Androniki “Niki Bird” Papazoglakis, of Baton Rouge, said she has seen little improvement in education, job growth and crime problems under Jindal. She said she hopes to raise awareness if nothing else.
“I’m running to win, but I’m realistic,” she said.
New Orleans area businessman John Georges flirted with running after spending millions of dollars of his own money in the 2007 governor’s race only to finish a distant third to Jindal. Georges, a registered Democrat, concluded Thursday afternoon that he did not have enough time to organize a statewide campaign.
Georges’ decision not to run means Jindal is by far the best-financed candidate for governor. He has nearly $9 million to spend on his bid for a second term.
A runoff, if necessary, will be Nov. 19.
Like Georges, New Orleans lawyer Caroline Fayard waited until the final day of qualifying to take her name out of contention in the fall elections. Fayard, a Democrat, soared onto the political scene nearly a year ago when she lost the runoff for the final months left in Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu’s term. More recently, she was considering a run for secretary of state amid lingering questions about how her last campaign was financed.
“The race for Louisiana’s Secretary State is not the correct one. My decision has not been easy, nor expected, and I hope it is seen as a demonstration of service above self,” Fayard said in an e-mail Thursday afternoon.
The races for lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general are pitting Republicans against each other.
House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Terrytown, hopes to oust Secretary of State Tom Schedler. Unhappy with Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne nine months after endorsing him, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser is running for the job.
Former U.S. Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao decided to run for attorney general despite toying with the idea of pushing to become the state’s next education superintendent. Cao is challenging Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s re-election bid.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon drew a last-minute opponent when Baton Rouge lawyer Donald Hodge walked through the doors of the Secretary of State’s Office half an hour before qualifying ended.
Hodge, a Democrat, will face off against Donelon, a Republican. “It’s kind of hard to tell what’s been done in five years other than 25 percent (rate) increases across the board,” Hodge said of Donelon’s tenure in office.
State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain held a party Thursday night to celebrate his campaign after drawing opponents with limited financial resources.
Reform Party candidate Belinda “B” Alexandrenko, of Pineville, and Democrat Jamie LaBranche, of LaPlace, put their names on the Oct. 22 ballot to run against Strain for the job of overseeing agriculture and forestry across the state.
Other races were decided once the three-day qualifying period ended Thursday.
For the third term in a row, Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy failed to draw an opponent. Kennedy will take the oath of office for his fourth term in January.
Nearly half of the 144 legislative seats are decided. Forty one House seats and 20 Senate seats only drew a single candidate each. Incumbents will hold onto all but two of those seats.
On the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, which develops education policy, member Walter Lee drew no challengers. Seven other seats attracted multiple candidates.