LIVINGSTON – Three officials who were appointed to fill the vacated seats of their predecessors will fill the remainder of their respective terms, while a crowded race will ensue to determine who will serve the rest of the four-year Denham Springs Council a member left earlier this year.
Denham Springs Ward 2 Marshal Joe Shumate, Livingston Parish School Board member Bo Graham and District 10 Constable Kathleen Abels all went unopposed during the three-day qualifying period which ended July 14.
The qualifying at the Livingston Parish Courthouse was for the state and municipal primary elections set for Oct. 14. The runoff races will be held Nov. 18.
The ballot will also include an election to fill the unexpired term of state Treasurer John N. Kennedy, who left office at the end of 2016 after he was elected Senator. Voters will also decide on a new member to represent District 2 in the state Public Service Commission.
On the local scene, the race for the seat on the Denham Springs City Council compensated in a big way for the other three parish posts which did not draw opposition.
Amber Dugas, Scott Kimble, Brian Ross, Ray Riley, Laura Schmitt Smith and Keith Stark entered the race for the seat Chris Davis vacated in February when he relocated to Mississippi for job reasons.
Riley, who is African-American, is the lone Democrat. The remainder of the candidates are white Republicans.
Ross and Riley qualified within the first 90 minutes on July 12, the first day of qualifying. Kimble, Smith and Stark entered the fray the following day and Dugas threw her hat in the ring July 14.
Shumate, a Republican, will served the remainder of the term Jerry Denton vacated when he took office as City Court Judge earlier this year. Denton took office as marshal in January 2014.
Independent candidate Bo Graham, an interim member of the Livingston Parish School Board, qualified to fill the remainder of the term for Jimmy Watson, who stepped down when he took office as Walker mayor.
Democratic candidate Kathleen Abels, whose resume includes four-year terms as Killian alderman and mayor, will seek to fill a term as District 10 constable. The Livingston Parish Council, through nomination by District 8 Councilman Tab Lobell, appointed Abels to the seat vacated upon the death of her stepfather, Barry White.
In the race for state treasurer, state Sen. Neil Riser of Columbia, former Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis former state Rep. John Schroder (both of Baton Rouge) and Terry Hughes of Lafayette were among the Republican candidates who qualified. New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards of Harvey was the lone Democrat to qualify, while Joseph D. Little of Ponchatoula entered the race as a Libertarian candidate.
Three Republicans are vying for the District 2 seat on the Public Service Commission – Damon Baldone and former state Rep. Lenar Whitney, both of Houma, and Craig Greene of Baton Rouge.