Louisiana voters will head to the polls Saturday
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana voters may not be paying much attention, but there’s a statewide election Saturday.
Top of the ballot are the selection of a new state treasurer and decisions on three constitutional changes.
The Louisiana treasurer’s job is vacant for the first time in 17 years. Republican John Kennedy left the position earlier this year after his election to the U.S. Senate. His top aide, Ron Henson, has been working as interim treasurer until someone is elected.
Six candidates are vying for the seat in the special election, which is expected to be decided in a Nov. 18 runoff.
The top three GOP contenders are: Angele Davis, a Baton Rouge business consultant who was a state budget administrator for Govs. Mike Foster and Bobby Jindal; Sen. Neil Riser, a funeral home owner and bank board member from Caldwell Parish; former Rep. John Schroder, a businessman and former law enforcement official from St. Tammany Parish.
New Orleans area lawyer Derrick Edwards has done little fundraising for the race but is expected to reach the runoff because he’s the only Democrat in the race. Also running are Terry Hughes, a Lafayette Republican, and Joseph Little, a Libertarian from Ponchatoula.
In St. Mary Parish, only 1,085 people voted early, counting both mailed and in-person ballots in Franklin and Morgan City, according to the Registrar of Voters Office.
This latest statewide competition comes after three years of intense election cycles for Louisiana, including the presidential race, hard-fought congressional races and a heated contest for governor.
Voters statewide also will consider whether to add three new provisions to the Louisiana Constitution.
The first would create a property tax break for all property delivered to a construction site for use in building industrial plants, companies and houses.
The next amendment would expand a property tax exemption given to the surviving spouses of police officers and certain others who die in the line of duty so that the tax break covers surviving spouses of more first responders, such as paramedics.
The final amendment would direct money from any new tax levied on gasoline or other motor fuels into a protected fund, to be spent on direct costs associated with transportation projects and prohibited from paying for state employee salaries.
In all or part of 13 parishes, voters will fill a seat on the Louisiana Public Service Commission, a five-member panel that regulates utilities across the state.
Three Republicans are competing for the District 2 seat, which represents parts of the Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Houma areas. The position was vacated by Scott Angelle, who took a job leading the federal agency that regulates offshore oil and gas drilling. The election will fill the remaining portion of the term that runs through 2018.
Also on the ballot are several judgeships, two vacant state House seats, an array of municipal positions and local proposition elections.
The most high-profile local competitions are in New Orleans, where 18 candidates are vying to be the city’s next mayor since Democrat Mitch Landrieu is term-limited. The city also has contested city council seats.
Twelve of Louisiana’s 64 parishes only have the treasurer’s seat and the three amendments on their ballots. Voters seeking more details about local elections can find that online at the Secretary of State’s website or on the Geaux Vote mobile app.