General election generates few sparks in Iberville

Deidre Cruse, Governmental Reporter

The much-touted Democratic malaise of the mid-term Congressional elections might have rubbed off on Iberville Parish ahead of Tuesday's general elections.

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. parishwide for decisions on a ballot that includes 10 proposed constitutional amendments – including one that would mean extra money for Iberville Parish for infrastructure and improvements in the Atchafalaya Basin.

With only two local run-off elections on the ballot, 456 voters had cast early ballots as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Iberville Registrar of Voters' Office. A total of 949 turned voted early in the October 2 primary elections that included School Board, White Castle and Maringouin races.

Clerk of Court J. G. “Bubbie” Dupont Jr. predicted a turnout of around 20 percent of the vote here. That would be 15 points below the primary election turnout of 35 percent, low but well above the 22 percent turnout statewide.

Statewide, voters will decide a special election in what has turned out to be a heated contest for lieutenant governor between Republican Secretary of State Jay Dardenne of Baton Rouge and first-time, but well-financed Democratic candidate Caroline Fayard of New Orleans. With Fayard's apparently making inroads in a race Dardenne had been considered a cinch to win, Dardenne to begin running negative television ads against her last week.

Television advertising in the contest for U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent David Vitter, leading the race despite scandal, and Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon has been virtually all negative.

Little has been heard of the 10 other candidates in the Senate race – no party candidates Michael Karlton Brown of Shreveport, R. A. “Skip” Galan of Ponchatoula, Milton Gordon of Alexandria, and Sam Houston Melton Jr. of Winnfield; other party candidates Thomas G. “Tommy LaFargue of Baton Rouge, William Robert “Bob” Lang Jr. of Natchitoches, Michael Lane “Mike” Spears of Lafayette and Ernest D. Wooton of Belle Chasse; Libertarian Party candidate Randall Todd Hayes of Atlanta, and Reform Party candidate William R. McShan of Leesville.

Local voters also will help decide the winners in two unheralded congressional races.

Voters in part of Iberville Parish will choose between Fifth District Congressional race between Republican incumbent Rodney Alexander of Quitman and independent Tom Gibbs Jr., a petroleum land man who has a small cattle and hay farm in Fairbanks, Louisiana, while the rest will choose between incumbent Republican U. S. Rep. William “Bill” Cassidy, completing his first term, and Merritt E. McDonald Sr., a retired engineer who once ran unsuccessfully for a Baton Rouge city council seat.

Voters in School Board District A in the Maringouin area will decide a run-off between Karen “Kay” Jewell, and Donald Ray Patterson that heated up after the primary contest in which Jewell took 48 percent of the vote in a three-candidate race that included incumbent Stanley Washington, who was shut out.

Town of Maringouin voters will decide a Board of Aldermen run-off between incumbent Edward James Jr. and John E. Carriere.