The end of the three-day qualifying period for the Oct. 24 primary on Thursday sets up a slate of elections that will produce plenty of TV ads and yard signs in the metro area in the coming weeks.
Among the scores of legislative, council and parish presidency races that will vie for voter attention, several promise to attract particular attention.
Two races involve high-profile candidates who have faced or are facing legal problems.
Derrick Shepherd, who resigned his state Senate seat in 2008 before pleading guilty to money laundering charges, signed up to run against incumbent Ebony Woodruff for the House District 87 seat.
Shepherd’s run is barred by a state law that prevents convicted felons from holding state office, but the former lawmaker, who served two years in federal prison for laundering money from the sale of fake bonds, said he plans to challenge that prohibition as unconstitutional. Rodney Lyons Sr. is also in the race.
Embattled St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta, a Republican who faces criminal charges in three jurisdictions, launched his re-election bid Thursday. He faces six challengers. Fellow Republicans Roland Rocques and Guy McInnis, along with Democrats Wayne Landry, Tony Melerine and Louis Pomes, and Johnell Young, who has no party affiliation, have signed up to try to unseat the first-term president.
In a surprise move, John LaBruzzo — a member of the state House of Representatives from 2004 to 2012 — announced he will run against incumbent Conrad Appel for the District 9 Senate seat.
LaBruzzo had indicated earlier that he would run for a Jefferson Parish council seat, but he said he preferred to run for a state office to pursue legislation that would make Confederate statues historic landmarks in order to protect them from “political attacks.” He also said he would oppose the Common Core educational standards and again would pursue legislation to permit random drug testing of welfare recipients.
The ultra-conservative LaBruzzo and former Jefferson Parish School Board member Polly Thomas join Scott Songy in challenging Appel, a Republican. Thomas is a Republican; Songy listed no party.
In another example of a former elected official attempting a political comeback, former St. Bernard Parish President Henry “Junior” Rodriguez filed to run for parish clerk of court against incumbent Randy Nunez.
In St. John the Baptist Parish, incumbent President Natalie Robottom will try to fend off five challengers: Daniel Becnel, DeLisa Brown, Charles Julien, Terry Gene Lewis Sr. and Kent St. Amant. One issue is likely to be her controversial decision to hire two of her special assistants to head parish departments.
Thursday also changed the dynamics of several other local races.
On the Jefferson Parish Council, District 4 incumbent Ben Zahn drew a challenger in fellow Kenner resident Scarlett Alaniz, a 45-year-old Republican who has twice run unsuccessfully for the Kenner City Council. She has been the co-host of the local Spanish-language television show “De Todo un Poco” and once served as the liaison to the Hispanic community in former Kenner Mayor Phil Capitano’s administration.
District 1 Councilman Ricky Templet drew a second challenger in Patrick Pierson, a 64-year-old Democrat from Gretna, who joined political newcomer Scott Grindstaff in opposing Templet. Pierson recently ran unsuccessfully for constable and is a former chairman of the Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish.
The race for Jefferson Parish president drew a couple of additional Republican candidates Thursday in Joseph Larocca, a 61-year-old from Kenner, and Vincent De Salvo Jr., a businessman from Gretna. They join Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse, Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni, Robin Daldegan Christiana and Al Morella in vying for the job that will be vacated by John Young, who is running for lieutenant governor.
Anthony Bloise, who is not registered with a major party and lists a post office box in Bridge City as his address, will challenge Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand’s bid for re-election. Normand won his first two terms as sheriff easily, capturing more than 90 percent of the vote on each occasion.
William F. “Billy” Sherman Jr., a 41-year-old Republican from Metairie, signed up to challenge longtime incumbent Jefferson Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer.
Meanwhile, in St. Tammany Parish, the parish president’s race also gained new candidates. Karen Champagne, a Mandeville Republican, joined L. Kevin Coleman and Margie Vicknair-Pray in challenging incumbent Pat Brister.
In a New Orleans-area state race, Roy A. Glapion, 54, entered the race for the District 7 Senate seat now held by David Heitmeier. The chairman of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and son of former City Councilman Roy Glapion is joining Jeff Arnold, Troy Carter, Leslie Ellison and Troy Gainey in the race. Gainey, a Republican from Belle Chase, also signed up for the race Thursday.
A slew of candidates were elected Thursday when they drew no opposition.
Jefferson Parish Assessor Tom Capella, Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich and District 3 Councilman Mark Spears all were re-elected when no one else signed up for their jobs.
Jefferson Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, who represents District 5, was elected without opposition to the parish’s Division B at-large seat when she drew no opponents.
In St. Tammany Parish, Coroner Charles Preston was re-elected by qualifying without an opponent, as were incumbent Parish Council members Gene Bellisario, Maureen O’Brien and Jerry Binder. Michael Lorino Jr., the only candidate to qualify in District 4, also was elected.
On the St. Tammany School Board, Richard “Rick’’ Hursey drew no opposition for the District 12 seat he has filled on an interim basis.
A number of legislators were automatically re-elected Thursday.
In the Senate, they include J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans; Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans; John Alario Jr., R-Westwego; Danny Martiny, R-Metairie; Gary Smith Jr., D-Montz; and Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville.
In the House, they include Scott Simon, R-Abita Springs; Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell; John Schroder, R-Covington; Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge; Julie Stokes, R-Kenner; Joseph Lopinto III, R-Metairie; Cameron Henry, R-Metairie; Patrick Connick, R-Harvey; Bryan Adams, R-Terrytown; Greg Cromer, R-Slidell; Walt Leger, D-New Orleans; Tom Willmott, R-Kenner; Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans; Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans; Jerry “Truck” Gisclair, D-Larose; Gregory Miller, R-Norco; and Randal Gaines, D-LaPlace.
In St. Bernard Parish, Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann and Coroner Bryan Bertucci each were re-elected unopposed.
In St. Charles Parish, Sheriff Greg Champagne, Assessor Tab Troxler, Coroner Brian Brogle and District 7 Councilwoman Julia Fisher-Perrier were re-elected.
In St. John the Baptist Parish, Clerk of Court Eliana Defrancesh, Coroner Christy “Doc” Montegut and District 4 Councilman Marvin “Butch” Perrilloux Jr. also drew no challengers.
In Plaquemines Parish, one race didn’t draw any candidates at all: justice of the peace for Ward 4.
Staff writers Jaquetta White, Jeff Adelson and Sara Pagones contributed to this report.