Scores of candidates for local office had signed up to run for school board seats, judgeships and other offices in the metropolitan area as the qualifying period for this fall's elections came to a close Friday.
In Jefferson Parish, with the biggest school district in the state, only one of nine school board members was re-elected without opposition. So the district's new superintendent, who has been on the job since March, may have a markedly different board to answer to come January.
School board seats will be contested in several parishes across the metro region Nov. 6, while judgeships will be the main prize in Orleans Parish.
There are also municipal races in Harahan, Abita Springs and Pearl River, and parish government seats are up in Plaquemines Parish.
In multiparish races, Covington-based attorney Richard Ducote has jumped in to challenge incumbent Greg Guidry for the state Supreme Court's District 1 seat. Guidry is expected to be nominated for a federal judgeship, but he is not likely to be confirmed for that position before Louisiana voters go to the polls.
In Orleans Parish, most of the races are uncontested. But three positions in the Civil District Court building will go to the voters. All the candidates in contested races are Democrats.
Tort lawyer Omar Mason, attorney Richard Perque, personal injury lawyer Kenneth Plaisance and attorney Marie Williams all threw their hats into the ring for the Civil District Court Division E judgeship vacated by Clare Jupiter's death. Perque and Mason have both run for Civil District Court judgeships within the past year. They lost but posted respectable showings.
Meanwhile, City Councilman Jared Brossett will be competing with Chelsey Richard Napoleon to serve as clerk of Civil District Court. Napoleon, the office’s longtime deputy clerk, has been filling in as clerk since Dale Atkins’ election to the state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal in March.
Former state Rep. Austin Badon is facing off with political consultant Timothy David Ray to become clerk of 1st City Court, the parish’s east bank small claims court. The low-profile position comes with the potential for high job security: Ellen Hazeur held the position from 2000 until her election to Civil District Court this year.
In Jefferson, eight of nine school board seats are up for grabs, with many observers expecting another showdown between candidates aligned with business interests and those aligned with the parish's teachers union. The lone candidate who did not draw an opponent was Metairie's Larry Dale, who is seen as a business-friendly candidate.
Cedric Floyd, a long-tenured but highly controversial board member, is facing three challengers. Floyd has vowed in previous meetings to work to unseat some of his opponents on the board, but it appears that he could have his hands full in his own district.
In the board's District 4 seat, incumbent Melinda Bourgeois chose not to run again. Glenn Mayeaux, a former Jefferson Parish principal and school administrator who applied unsuccessfully earlier this year to be the system's next superintendent, will face off against Clay Moise. Both are Republicans.
In Harahan, one-term incumbent Mayor Tina Miceli will face a challenge from Councilman Tim Baudier. Police Chief Tim Walker, who has clashed frequently with Miceli, was re-elected without opposition. Fourteen candidates qualified for the five at-large seats on the City Council, which generally has also been antagonistic toward Miceli.
In St. Tammany Parish, Mary DuBuisson, a Republican, tossed her hat into the ring for the District 90 state House seat vacated by Greg Cromer when he became mayor of Slidell. DuBuisson was Cromer's legislative aide. She will face off against Brian Glorioso, Sean Morrison and John Raymond. Morrison is a Democrat; the others are Republicans.
Five incumbents were re-elected without opposition to the parish's 15-member school board: Michael Dirmann, District 3; Michael Nation, District 6; Ronald Bettencourtt, District 10; Richard Hursey, District 12; and Dennis Cousin, District 14.
Three incumbents did not seek another term: Neal Hennegan, District 1; Robin Mullett, District 13; and Mary K. Bellisario, District 15. Those elections each drew three candidates. In District 1, Donald Flanagan, no party, joined two previous qualifiers Friday. Democrat Marie Wade became the third candidate in District 15.
In Abita Springs, the field running for mayor grew to five. Dan Curtis, a Republican; George Long, an independent; and Jessica Lotspeich, no party, qualified Friday. They joined incumbent Greg Lemons, a Republican, and John Preble, an independent.
In the Pearl River mayor’s race, incumbent David McQueen drew a late challenger in Lora Crawford Cutrer, who now serves on the Board of Aldermen. Both are Republicans.
The race for Pearl River police chief also heated up, with incumbent JJ Jennings, a Republican, and Ronnie Marshall, an independent, qualifying to bring the the field to four.
Contests for the boards of aldermen in the three St. Tammany municipalities also drew sizable fields, with eight candidates in the running for the five-member Abita Springs board and nine running for the five-member Pearl River board. Four candidates are seeking the three spots on the Folsom Board of Aldermen.
In Plaquemines Parish, President Amos Cormier drew two challengers: Kirk Lepine, a Republican, and Burghart Turner, a Democrat. One member of the Parish Council, John Barthelemy Jr., was elected without opposition. Every other seat will be contested.
Of Plaquemines' nine school board seats, only two will be contested: District 5 and District 8, both of which drew three candidates. No candidates qualified for the post as justice of the peace in Ward 4.
In St. Bernard, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes, school board races are the major contests on the ballot.
Advocate staff reporters Matt Sledge and Sara Pagones contributed to this report.