Candidates from all around Louisiana will begin qualifying for a smorgasbord of different elections that touch upon nearly every level of government, from local all the way up to federal.
According to Meg Casper, the communications director for the secretary of state’s office, there could be as many as 475 Louisiana races on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Qualifying begins Wednesday, July 20, and ends Friday, July 22. This process will determine exactly how many of those races end up on the ballot. During last year’s round of qualifying, more officials were elected without opposition than in any other time in recent history, according to Secretary of State Tom Schedler.
The top of the November ballot belongs to the developing presidential contest. The Republican Party meets in Cleveland on Monday, July 18, for four days of convention activity to select its official nominee. The Democratic Party gathers the week after in Philadelphia, beginning July 25, to do the same.
The premier race for Louisiana politics, however, is the seat being vacated by senior U.S. Sen. David Vitter. It’s expected to draw a large field of contenders and, in turn, create two vacancies in congressional districts.
Running in the open U.S. Senate race will be U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette from the 3rd Congressional District and U.S. Rep. John Fleming of Minden from the 4th Congressional District. Candidates have already started lining up for those elections, and both should create competitive congressional races.
U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond in the 2nd Congressional District may also have an opponent in Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, who has said he intends to run.
There will be two elections for the Louisiana Supreme Court, three court of appeal races and three district judge contests. Vying for the Supreme Court District 3 seat are 15th Judicial District Judge Marilyn Castle and Third Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Jimmy Genevose, both Republicans. The District covers eight parishes — Lafayette, Acadia, Vermilion, St. Landry, Avoyelles, Jeff Davis, Cameron and Calcasieu.
There will also be only one election for the state Legislature, for a House seat based in Jefferson Parish; two posts on the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, are up for grabs.
Additionally, there are a slew of local races for mayoral positions, city councils, parish councils and other elected seats.
Runoffs, as needed, are scheduled for Dec. 10.