Insurance businessman Scott McKnight and lawyer Taryn Branson advanced Saturday to a Nov. 16 runoff for the state House District 68 seat that term-limited Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, has held since 2007.

McKnight, a 38-year-old Republican, and Branson, a 34-year-old Democrat, emerged from a five-candidate field that also included school administrator Laurie White Adams, lawyer Tommy Dewey and banker Joshua "Fini" Hajiakbarifini. Adams and Dewey are Republicans; Hajiakbarifini is a Democrat.

McKnight, who led the way Saturday, is director of strategic business development for BXS Insurance, formerly Wright & Percy Insurance, the family business, and is co-owner of RapidFire Protection and Superior Ford. He's also a reserve East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy.

Branson, who finished second, is a lawyer and former teacher who served for two years as a consultant to the Office of Women's Policy in Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration.

FuturePAC, the political action committee of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, or BRAC, endorsed both McKnight and Adams in the legislative race. The East Baton Rouge Parish Democratic Executive Committee endorsed Branson.

McKnight challenged state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, in 2015 but came in second in the three-candidate race. Claitor won.

McKnight, who labels himself a conservative, said he has lived his entire life in District 68 and cares deeply about it. He said his record of getting things done in business and philanthropy highlight his dedication to community and service, and his ability to deliver results.

"Paving the way for future generations by creating a competitive pro-job, pro-business, pro-growth environment for Louisiana is what we need right now more than ever," he said during the campaign.

Branson described herself as a moderate Democrat and pledged to listen to voters and put their interests above partisan politics.

Branson, who taught in north Louisiana and in Baton Rouge, said she envisions an educational system where early childhood education is made a priority and fully funded; where parents of K-12 students have the option to send their children to a public, private or charter school that serves the needs of their children; and where college students aren't forced to pay higher tuition costs due to cuts to higher education.

McKnight challenged state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, in 2015 but came in second in the three-candidate race. Claitor won.

Interstate 10 runs the length of House District 68, which extends from Perkins and Highland roads on one end to LSU on the other. The district is generally south of Jefferson Highway and north of Perkins.

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AGE: 38

RESIDES: Born in Baton Rouge; resides in Jefferson Place Bocage

EDUCATION: Graduated from University High School; bachelor’s degree in General Studies from LSU; master’s in Business Administration from LSU

PROFESSIONAL: Insurance businessman; reserve East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy

POLITICAL: Republican; member of Republican State Central Committee



AGE: 34

RESIDES: Born in West Monroe; moved to Baton Rouge in 2011; lives on Jefferson Highway near Bocage

EDUCATION: Graduated from West Monroe High School; bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Spanish from Louisiana Tech University; master’s in Criminal Justice from the University of Louisiana at Monroe; juris doctorate from Southern University Law Center

PROFESSIONAL: Lawyer; former educator


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