voting stock ballot election

While voters statewide select a governor Saturday, those in the Baton Rouge area will choose a judge for the 19th Judicial District Court, a sheriff for West Baton Rouge Parish and a handful of state Senate and House members.

In a special election to fill a court vacancy, longtime defense lawyer Ron Johnson faces Metro Council member and Zachary City Prosecutor Trae Welch.

Ron Johnson is the twin brother of 19th JDC Judge Don Johnson. Welch is the son of former 19th JDC Judge Jewel “Duke” Welch, who is now on the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.

Welch finished first in the Oct. 12 primary but did not have enough votes to win the seat outright. East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutor Will Jorden finished third in the Oct. 12 primary.

The winner will hold the seat until the end of 2020. The district covers Baker, Central and Zachary, plus parts of Baton Rouge including portions of Broadmoor and Sherwood Forest. The seat became open when Judge Mike Erwin retired.

West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes is seeking a fifth term, this time against challenger Mike Zito, who finished second in the four-person primary last month.

Cazes touted his 16 years in office; Zito said it is time for new leadership at the parish’s top law enforcement agency.

A recount after the Oct. 12 primary put Republican state Rep. Franklin Foil into a runoff against Beverly Brooks-Thompson in the race for a state Senate seat in southern East Baton Rouge Parish.

Thompson, a Democrat, led the race last month but earlier counts showed Foil behind, and then tied with, fellow GOP candidate Steve Carter for the second spot on the runoff ballot. A hand recount left Foil with four more votes.

The recount occurred after Republican fundraiser Lane Grigsby, who lives in District 16, heightened interest in the race by revealing he had offered to help Foil in a future election if he dropped out. Foil refused.