Primary elections set Saturday

Deidre Cruse, Governmental Reporter

Local School Board races, along with contests for White Castle and Maringouin municipal offices, will be on the ballot Saturday with a special election for lieutenant governor, two proposed constitutional amendments and a Public Service Commission race.

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. parishwide. This is an open primary election, and all voters will be eligible to vote, regardless of party affiliation.

Monday is the final day to register to vote in the November 2 general elections, when voters will make their final selections in the U. S. Senate and congressional races, and decide another 10 proposed amendments.

November 2 run-off elections also are possible in four Iberville Parish School Board races with three candidates each, as well as in the White Castle mayor and police chief's races and in the Board of Aldermen races in both White Castle and Maringouin. Maringouin has head-to-head races in its mayoral and police chief's elections.

See sample ballots, other election stories, Pages XXXX

Iberville Parish Clerk of Court J. G. “Bubbie” Dupont Jr. predicts a turnout of around 30 percent Saturday. The weather will be beautiful, and voters planning to attend LSU's home game will vote before they leave for Baton Rouge, he predicted.

A total of 949 of Iberville's 21,107 registered voters cast early ballots, according to the Iberville Registrar of Voters Office.

“People are really liking the early voting,” she said, now that anyone can vote early whether they will be in town for election day or not. “It's caught on pretty good here.”

Registrar Melissa S. Bourgoyne thought the turnout was good for a small ballot.

At many precincts, the special election to fill the lieutenant governor's post vacated by Democrat Mitch Landrieu after his election as mayor of New Orleans and the two proposed constitutional amendments are the only items on the ballot.

Five Republicans and three Democrats are vying for the lieutenant governor's job:

– Democrat James “Jim” Crowley, 60, a Shreveport real estate broker who served from 1979-84 on the Caddo Parish Police Jury.

– Republican Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, 56, who had served for 14 years as a state senator from Baton Rouge and for two years on the Baton Rouge Metro Council.

– Republican Kevin Davis, 55, of Slidell, a former electrical contractor who has served for a decade as St. Tammany Parish president.

– Democrat Caroline Fayard, 32, a New Orleans attorney making her first bid for public office.

– Democratic state Sen. Butch Gautreaux, 62, of Morgan City, a trucking company administrator who previously served as a state representative.

– Republican country music singer Sammy Kershaw, 52, of Lafayette seeking his first elective job.

– Republican Melanie McKnight, 49, a Baton Rouge nephrologist seeking a first public office.

– Louisiana Republican State Party Chairman Roger Villere, 61, a Metairie florist and business owner.

The proposed additions to the state Constitution include establishing early starting dates for annual legislative sessions and exempting the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from the classified civil service. Additional information is available in last week's POST/SOUTH or at the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana's website at www.la-par.org.

Also on the ballot in many areas of the parish is the District 3 Louisiana Public Service Commission race between incumbent Lambert C. Bossiere, who served as a First City Court of New Orleans constable for seven years before his election to the PSC,

And John F. Schwegmann of Metairie, who served on the PSC from 1981-96 before losing the job. His subsequent bids for re-election have been unsuccessful.