Iberville’s first GOP primary set for Saturday

Deidre Cruse

Iberville Parish will hold its first ever Republican primary to decide the 5th Congressional District contest in Saturday’s election.

A total of 1,085 Republicans in 21 Iberville precincts will choose between incumbent U. S. Rep. Rodney Alexander of Quitman and farm owner Andrew Clack of Holly Ridge, as will Republican voters in 21 other parishes.

The party primary originally was scheduled for September 6, but was postponed until Saturday after Hurricane Gustav knocked out electricity to much of the district.

The winner of the Republican primary will be the 5th District’s congressman, since no Democrats or independents qualified for the race.

Louisiana has had open primary elections for more than 30 years, so that all candidates and voters participate regardless of their party affiliations.

State law was changed this year to put Congressional races on the same track as other congressional elections nationwide.

This is the first time Iberville’s polling places have been opened solely for a Republican primary election, the clerk of court said.

Alexander, 61, is seeking re-election to his fourth term in Congress. He was first elected as a Democrat, but switched his affiliation to Republican late in the qualifying period last time.

Alexander, a construction worker and then an insurance agent, was first elected to office at age 25 as a Jackson Parish police juror. He also served for 16 years in the Louisiana House of Representatives before his election to Congress.

A high school graduate who attended Louisiana Tech, Alexander also served for six years in the U. S. Air Force Reserve.

His challenger is a 25-year-old conservative making his first run for office. Clack is a 2005 graduate of Northeast Louisiana University with a degree in construction management.

He has served as a volunteer firefighter in the Holly Ridge Volunteer Fire Department since 2001 and has owned Andrew Clack Farms since 2007.

According to Project Vote Smart, Clack recently joined the Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association. He was been president of the Construction Guild from 2004-05 and served as vice president and pledge trainer of Sigma Lambda Chi in college.

Those eligible to vote Saturday are Republicans in these 21 precincts: Precincts 13A, 13B and 13C, all at E. J. Gay School; 14, 14A and 14B, all at the Plaquemine Junior High concession stand; 15 at American Legion Post #167; 16 at Iberville Middle School; 19 at the Kleinpeter Agriculture Building; 20 at the Gascon-Wintz Building; 21 at the Jacob Street Fire Station in Plaquemine; 22 at the Parish Vo-Tech School; 26 at Crescent School; 27 at the Bayou Blue Volunteer Fire Department; 28 at Rosedale Town Hall; 29 at Grosse Tete Town Hall; 30 at Rosedale Town Hall; 31 at the Council on Aging Office in Maringouin, and 32 at the Maringouin Library.