Fax-Net Update: The Dist. 8 race


The House District 8 seat in Bossier City has been rapidly changing hands since it was represented by Jane Smith from 1999 to 2011.

First, it was Jeff Thompson who captured the seat upon Smith’s departure in the 2011 election.  He held the seat until January 2015 when he was elected a Bossier-Webster District Judge.

Enter Mike Johnson.  He won the seat unopposed  in 2015 in a special election to replace Thompson.  And after representing District 8 for about two years,  Johnson was elected to the U.S. House seat vacated by John Fleming.

Which brings us to another special election to fill the House District 8 seat, which is considered a Republican district.  So far, two candidates have emerged – Duke Lowrie and Robbie Gatti, all Republicans.

Lowrie has run for the seat before.  He lost to Thompson in the election in 2011 by a 57 to 43% margin.

He served as a firefighter for 20 years with the Bossier City Fire Department.  Lowrie is co-owner of Acadiana Mortgage,  Acadiana  Farms,  and  Acadiana Energy.  Each of these businesses are in operation  today.

Lowrie is pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-school choice, and  believes  that  the  best way for government  to empower Louisianians is to get out of the way.

Bossier Parish Police Juror Doug Rimmer briefly announced his candidacy in late December before bowing out due to concerns over his family’s health following a car accident involving his wife. Rimmer currently holds the District 8 seat on the Police Jury.

Robbie Gatti is the brother of Republican state Sen. Ryan Gatti, who is in his first term.

Robbie lists himself as a small businessman, physical therapist, and military serviceman.

The election is scheduled for March 25 with qualifying Wednesday through Friday of this week.

The Treasurer’s race

It’s been quite a while since the state Treasurer’s  job has been on the election block.  John Kennedy has owned the position since he won the seat in 1999, defeating incumbent Ken Duncan, 56-44%.

He was unopposed or received minor opposition in subsequent elections.  His election to the U.S. Senate created the opening to the statewide office.

There will likely be a long list of contenders for the post in the election to be held on October 14.  There are a minimum of six lawmakers thinking about running for state treasurer.

They are Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Mandeville; Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte; Speaker Pro Tem Walt Ledger, D-New Orleans; Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia; Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington; and Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Metairie.

What is causing some legislators to take a look at the state treasurer’s job is the fact that they will be term-limited after this term, which ends in 2019.  More than a third of legislators now serving will make their exit.

In the House, 36 representatives out of the 105-member body will be term-limited, as will 16 out of 39 senators.

Of course, some House members will run for a Senate seat to continue their service in the state Legislature.  A few will term-limited senators will opt to run for the House.

Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.