Hollis announces for U.S. Senate _lowres

Rep. Paul B. Hollis

State Rep Paul Hollis, R-Mandeville, won his second term in office Tuesday when Ben Barnett, his lone challenger, withdrew from the race after Hollis said he would challenge Barnett’s eligibility to run.

Barnett, a political newcomer, signed up to run for the St. Tammany district seat last week even though he has lived in the district 11 months, short of the one year required by state law. According to Barnett, a parish clerk told him that he could run as long as nobody challenged his eligibility.

Soon after Barnett qualified, however, he got a call from an attorney representing Hollis who told Barnett that he wasn’t eligible. Barnett said he was determined to run anyway, but Hollis’ representatives let Barnett know this week they were filing a legal challenge. Rather than fight it in the courts, Barnett said, he decided to withdraw.

Barnett had promised to use social and electronic media to survey voters ahead of every vote on bills.

“I will probably run again,” he said.

Hollis said he was “humbled by the strong support of friends and neighbors throughout the community.”

Hollis’ district includes much of southern St. Tammany, including Lacombe, parts of Covington and areas north of Mandeville and west of Slidell.

Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.