The final day of qualifying held no last-minute surprises.
Doors at the Secretary of State’s Office shut promptly at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, ending the period when candidates could sign the paperwork and pay the fees to run in the Oct. 24 primary.
Nine candidates signed up for the governor’s race, which because Gov. Bobby Jindal has to step down after two terms will be first time an incumbent is not in the running since 2007.
An intense race is expected between four well-financed candidates: Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, R-Breaux Bridge; Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, R-Baton Rouge; state Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite; and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie. All signed up to run on the first day of qualifying. Five other men qualified to run for the state’s top spot.
With Dardenne seeking the top spot, the lieutenant governor’s race also has no incumbent, leading to a wide-open race for the second spot, as well.
All the incumbents who have to run statewide have opponents.
“Other than that burst that first morning, it’s been one of the quietest qualifying I recall,” Secretary of State Tom Schedler said. In past years, some candidates waited until the last minute to jump in or changed their party affiliation in the final moments.
No challengers filed in 43 percent of the offices. Schedler said such a high percentage speaks to voter apathy.
In all, 2,095 candidates — 769 Republicans, 951 Democrats and 375 with other party affiliations — qualified for 1,150 offices.
By the end of qualifying, 30 candidates signed up to run for the seven statewide offices. Another 22 candidates are running for seats on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Geri Broussard, a Democrat from Garyville, signed up Thursday to run for Attorney General. She said incumbent Buddy Caldwell has not represented working people. She also said she would support equal pay for women and a higher minimum wage.
“The A.G. has influence. The attorney general can be an advocate,” Broussard said.
Broussard faces Republicans, in addition to Caldwell, former congressman Jeff Landry and former prosecutor Marty Maley.
A second Democrat joined the pack challenging Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, who has regulated the insurance industry since 2006.
Donald Hodge Jr., who challenged Donelon four years ago, qualified, saying the commissioner takes money from insurance companies and represents their interests. “I hope that the people of Louisiana will want to have lower rates,” he said.
A former official of the state Department of Education has filed for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education post held by Chas Roemer.
Jason France, a Baton Rouge data analyst, entered the contest for the BESE District 6 slot on Wednesday.
Others in the race are Laree Taylor, who lives in Baton Rouge and is the principal of a middle school in Port Allen, and Kathy Edmonston, a 21-year veteran of the Ascension Parish School District who lives in Gonzales.
Roemer, who is president of BESE, announced Wednesday that he will not seek a third term on the panel that sets policies for about 720,000 public school students statewide.
France, who is also a blogger on education issues, said Thursday that he opposes Common Core, the privatization of public schools and what he calls the inappropriate sharing of data by the state Department of Education.
France, 42, is a Libertarian.
Taylor and Edmonston are Republicans.
In filings on Thursday, longshot contenders Jason Engen, of Baton Rouge, and Etta Licciardi, of Loranger, both Republicans, filed for the District 6 seat.
In other areas, Tony Davis, of Natchitoches, filed for the District 4 seat in northwest Louisiana now held by Mary Harris, who is serving the unexpired term of former BESE member Walter Lee.
In District 2 in New Orleans, Kara Tamara Washington, who lives in Ama, filed for the post held by Kira Orange Jones.
Washington and Jones are both Democrats, as is the third contender, Gwendolyn Bordenave.
All eight elected BESE seats are on the Oct. 24 primary ballot.
Any necessary runoff elections will be Nov. 21.
Aside from the elected members, the governor names three members of BESE.