A political look ahead at 2016
Here’s wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year. I am back after a holiday break to report on what will be another interesting election year in our Great State.
So, what’s ahead for those of us who participate in the political process in 2016? A lot. And it begins as early as March 5. It is basically a federal election year with the highlight being the election of the 45th president of the United States. Also on the ballot will be a U.S. Senate race as well as races for the six U.S. House seats.
Let’s look at what we know so far:
March 5 Election Date –
Topping the ballot on this date will be the presidential preference primaries for both the Democratic and Republican parties. Democratic voters will get to choose who they want to be their party’s standardbearer from 10 candidates. Republicans will choose from 14 candidates who qualified to be on the Louisiana ballot. The two parties will also select members for their state central committees and parish executive committees.
Also on the ballot for some voters will be a special election to replace retired 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal Judge James Stewart, who was elected Caddo District Attorney. Only voters who live in this majority-black judicial subdistrict will vote in this race. Three candidates qualified for the judgeship in December. They are attorney Trina Chu, an Asian Democrat; City Court Judge Sheva Sims, a black Democrat; and Juvenile Court Judge Shonda Stone, a black Democrat. All three are Shreveport residents.
April 9 Election Date –
This election date is the runoff for elections held on March 5. There will be no runoff for the presidential preference primaries, but it is likely there will be some runoffs for state central committee and parish executive committee seats. It is possible, also, that there could be a runoff in the race for the seat on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal.
November 8 Election Date –
This is the biggie. The star of the show will be the presidential election. Of equal importance to Louisiana is the open seat for the U.S. Senate. Republican Sen. David Vitter, after losing the governor’s race, decided not to seek a third six-year term. Expect several candidates to vie for this political plum, and we will have more on this race in future editions.
We already know there will be two open U.S. House seats. Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming, who represents the 4th District, and Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, who represents the 3rd District, have already declared for the U.S Senate seat.
All of these federal elections for Congress will be under the Open Primary system. There will not be any party primaries. In other words, all candidates run on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation and the top two, where applicable, advance to the runoff.
Also on the ballot in nine north Louisiana parishes will be an election for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal. Judge Jay Carraway’s 10-year term is expiring. He plans to seek re-election. He will be opposed by Bossier-Webster District Judge Jeff Cox, who has already declared for the judicial seat.
December 10 Election Date –
This general election date is for any runoffs which may be necessary for the U.S. Senate seat and U.S. House seats, as well as any other election which requires a runoff.
Oliver Jenkins for Congress? As we mentioned, the 4th Congressional District will be an open seat since Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming is running for the U.S. Senate. A recent poll took a look at potential candidates for the U.S. House seat. But one name was omitted – Republican Shreveport City Councilman Oliver Jenkins.
Also mentioned as possible candidates for this race: Republicans Rocky Rockett of Bossier City and state Reps. Mike Johnson of Bossier and Jim Morris of Caddo. Democrats listed were former Mayor and now state Rep. Cedric Glover and state Rep. Patrick Jefferson of Arcadia. I’ll have more on this race and all of the races mentioned above as the election draws closer.
Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.