Friday was the last day for candidates in Louisiana to get their name on the ballot for fall elections. The only statewide race in November will have nine candidates vying for the job of Secretary of State, responsible for overseeing elections throughout Louisiana.
State Rep. Rick Edmonds (R-Baton Rouge) qualified for the race Friday, saying he’s ready to build transparency and integrity into the office.
“But also, it’s time to build a wall,” said Edmonds. “That’s right - it’s time to build a wall around our voting process and all of our data.”
Edmonds will face his colleague in the state legislature, Rep. Julie Stokes (R-Kenner), who is also campaigning for the position.
Stokes spent the past year battling cancer. That diagnosis led her to withdraw from a race for state treasurer in 2017. Now cancer-free, she says she’s ready to defend voters across Louisiana.
“I’m not afraid to stand up to Putin or the Russians,” she said. “I am not afraid to do anything that will protect our government from cyber attacks.”
Interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R-Baton Rouge) will also appear on the ballot. He took over the office when Tom Schedler resigned earlier this year amid accusations of sexual harassment. Ardoin previously said he would not run for the office in this election, but just minutes before the deadline Friday he threw his name in the race.
Other candidates include former state senator A.G. Crowe (R-Pearl River), Renee Fontenot Free (D-Baton Rouge), who previously served as first assistant to Secretary of State Fox McKeithen; Heather Cloud (R-Turkey Creek), Gwen Collins-Greenup (D-Clinton), and Matt Moreau (No Party-Zachary).
The special election will fill the remainder of former Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s term, which ends in 2020. Whoever wins the race will take office for the remaining year, with another election right around the corner in November of 2019 for a full term.
In addition to Secretary of State, voters will also decide on US representatives for all of Louisiana’s six congressional districts. Each current lawmaker in Congress has drawn opponents, but few have campaign budgets that rival those of the incumbents.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson) was in Baton Rouge Friday to officially put his name on the ballot as a candidate for the 1st District.
He’s currently the third highest ranking member of the House GOP. If re-elected, Scalise could be in the running for Speaker of the House in 2019. But right now, Scalise says his focus is on maintaining a Republican majority.
“I’m going to continue running hard to make sure that we know what’s at stake in this election and we’re not gonna let Nancy Pelosi take back the House,” said Scalise.
Five other candidates are on the ballot for the 1st District. They are Lee Ann Dugas (D-Kenner), Jim Francis (D-Covington), Frederick Jones (I-Hammond), Howard Kearney (L-Mandeville) and Tammy Savoie (D-New Orleans).
6th District Congressman Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) also qualified for re-election Friday. He’ll face three opponents: Justin DeWitt (D-Baton Rouge), Devin Lance Graham (I-Gonzales) and Andie Saizan (D-Springfield).
The lone Democrat in Louisiana’s Congressional delegation is Rep. Cedric Richmond (New Orleans) of the state’s majority-minority 2nd District, which includes parts of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Trying to unseat Richmond are Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste (I-New Orleans), Shawndra Rodriguez (No Party-Baton Rouge) and Jesse Schmidt (No Party-Gretna).
The election takes place Nov. 6. Runoffs will be decided Dec. 8.