The president of the Jefferson Parish School Board won re-election Friday when his lone challenger dropped out of the race, while one of his current colleagues withdrew from a contest that would have pitted her against another incumbent.
The narrowing of the field in those two races came as a lawyer specializing in juvenile law dropped out of a packed race for an open seat on the 24th Judicial District Court bench.
Mark Morgan was automatically declared the winner in the Jefferson Parish School Board’s District 1 race after his challenger, Charles “Ken” Bradley, withdrew from the race. Morgan was first elected to the board in a 2004 special election. He became the board’s president this year.
Board member Etta Licciardi also dropped out of her race Friday, saying she had personal needs to attend to.
Licciardi had been in an unusual position in the Nov. 4 election for the board’s District 3 seat. A redistricting in 2012 moved her out of the district she had represented for 10 years and put her in competition with board member Ray St. Pierre, a close ally.
Both have found themselves in the minority on the board since the 2010 elections, when business-backed candidates won a majority of the seats and began taking a hard line with the Jefferson Federation of Teachers over issues such as teachers’ collective bargaining agreement.
“It made me feel better to know that the district would be in good hands,” Licciardi said, adding that there have been only a handful of votes on which she and St. Pierre have split.
With Licciardi’s withdrawal, the race now pits St. Pierre against Ray Griffin Jr. A fourth candidate, Philip Huskey, had registered for the campaign but was disqualified after Licciardi succeeded in a lawsuit challenging his residency in the district.
In Jefferson Parish judicial races, the crowded field running for the 24th JDC’s Division O seat lost one candidate Friday as Zoe Fleming dropped her bid to replace retiring Judge Ross LaDart. Four lawyers remain in the running: Thomas Anzelmo Jr., Frank Buck, John E. Sudderth and Danyelle Taylor.
Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.