Incumbent Donald Villere and challenger Rick Danielson qualified Wednesday to run for mayor of Mandeville, formally kicking off a campaign that will lack the scale but probably not the intensity of recent parish and statewide races.
Municipal elections will be held March 5, the same day as Louisiana’s presidential primaries.
Danielson, an at-large city councilman, announced in May that he intended to challenge Villere. At the time, he called the relationship between the mayor and the City Council “seriously damaged.”
For his part, Villere has called Danielson disrespectful and accused him of being a pawn of parish officials.
Beyond the name-calling, the two have clashed over a number of issues, most notably how to protect Old Mandeville from flooding during major weather events and how much the city should contribute to the parish to help build a bypass road outside Mandeville’s eastern city limits.
The mayor’s race won’t be the only hotly contested race in the city. In the third council district, which includes much of Old Mandeville, Jeff Lyons qualified to run against first-term incumbent Ernest Burguières. Lyons is the son of former Mayor Bubby Lyons. Burguières has been one of the most outspoken members of the council over the past four years.
In Council District 1, incumbent David Ellis was the only candidate to qualify Wednesday. In District 2, newcomer Michael Pulaski was the only candidate who signed up to run, but Melinda Crawford has said she also plans to run for that seat. It is being vacated by Carla Buchholz, who is running for an at-large seat.
A challenger has jumped into the at-large race, too: businesswoman and real estate agent Lauré Sica. Clay Madden, who has held an at-large seat for one term, did not qualify Wednesday, but he has declared his intention to seek re-election. All the at-large candidates run together in the same field for two seats.
In nearby Madisonville, Mark Badeaux qualified to run for mayor, and James Bouey, Brad Haddox and Michael Sunseri signed up to run for spots on the town’s council.
Qualifying ends Friday.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III, on Twitter @faimon.