Ellen Hazeur _lowres

Ellen Hazeur

Two New Orleans residents who tried to knock former City Council member Ellen Hazeur off the ballot for an open judgeship at Civil District Court have given up their case, the candidate's representatives said Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, in St. Tammany Parish, Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal will return to office without having to campaign after a judge disqualified his sole challenger Tuesday.

Judge Peter Garcia of 22nd Judicial District Court ruled in favor of a lawsuit that asserted Fandal rival Tommy Qualls has not lived within the city limits for the required one year. 

The lawsuit against Hazeur, the clerk of 1st City Court, alleged that she wasn't up to date with required campaign finance reports when she signed up to run in the March 24 primary for a seat that Judge Tiffany Chase gave up to join the state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.

But plaintiffs William Winebrenner and Marie Breaux moved to dismiss their case on Tuesday, when it was set for trial, according to Karen Carvin Shachat, Hazeur's political consultant.

Hazeur is among four candidates who signed up for the Division A race. Three of the candidates were targeted by disqualification lawsuits.

One of them, Richard "Rick" Duplantier, withdrew from the race after admitting that he listed himself as a Democrat on qualifying documents even though he was registered as a Republican. Breaux and Timon Webre had sued Duplantier.

The third disqualification lawsuit in the race was aimed at Taetrece Harrison, who was accused of falsely stating that she did not owe any fines to the state Ethics Board though records showed she had an outstanding balance of $1,300 when she signed up to run.

But plaintiffs Cynthia Cimino and Michael Idoyaga were later informed by ethics officials that Harrison had paid the balance before she signed up as a candidate, despite what the records showed, court filings said.

The plaintiffs then moved to drop their suit against Harrison, who was recently charged by state prosecutors with pulling a gun on a man offering to help her after her car had been immobilized with a parking boot.

Harrison has said through an attorney that she pulled out her gun only after the man had ignored her requests to stop talking to her.

Richard Perque is the lone candidate in the race who was not named in a disqualification lawsuit.

In St. Tammany, Jerry Williams filed the lawsuit that resulted in Fandal's automatic re-election.  

Fandal took over as Slidell's police chief a year ago, after he won a race to fill the remainder of Randy Smith's term following Smith's election as St. Tammany Parish sheriff. 

The lawsuit challenging Qualls' candidacy alleged that he does not live in the city limits but instead at 135 West Live Oaks Drive, where he also has his homestead exemption.

Tommy Williams, a reserve police officer who has worked in Fandal's campaigns, said the campaign discovered that Qualls had changed his voter registration and license to an address within the city limits, at 146 Palm Springs Drive, on Jan. 5, the same day he qualified to run for police chief.

That property is owned by Lester H. Swanson Jr., who has a homestead exemption on the property, the lawsuit said.

Staff writer Sara Pagones contributed to this report. 

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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