Candidates PIcking Up Steam; Filing Is In August

Although filing for the 2019 election doesn’t take place until August, numerous candidates in Washington Parish are already engaged in campaign activities. The primary election is October 12, and with a heated governor’s race on the ballot some elections officials are hoping for plenty of interest (and voting) by citizens this fall.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, will face two Republicans in the primary, as well as some lesser candidates. Congressman Ralph Abraham, a Republican who represents Washington Parish and a host of other parishes in Congress, is running against Edwards this year. Another Republican seeking the governor’s office is Eddie Rispone, an industrialist from Baton Rouge.

Both Abraham and Rispone appeared in Franklinton last month during a Republican candidate’s rally

. In Washington Parish, legislative seats will have a true two-party challenge this year, with incumbent state Sen. Beth Mizell, a Republican from Franklinton, being opposed by a Democrat. And Democratic state Rep. Malinda White, of Bogalusa, is being opposed by a Republican.

Washington Parish School Superintendent Darrell Fairburn is the Democrat seeking to unseat Sen. Mizell. He formally announced his candidacy last week in The Era-Leader for Mizell’s 12th Senatorial District seat. Mizell was elected in 2015 to replace the term-limited Ben Nevers.

White seeks re-election to her District 75 House seat, and she is oppposed by Republican Phillipp Bedwell, a former member of the Washington Parish Council.

In addition to the contested legislative races, the 2019 election brings competition for other parish offices. Some of the incumbent parish councilmen already have opponents who are actively campaigning. And in a race that it expected to attract plenty of notice, former Franklinton police chief Olander Smith is campaigning heavily in a bid to replace incumbent Sheriff Randy Seal. Also in the race is former deputy Demille Topps. Seal was first elected in 2011, defeating then-incumbent Sheriff Bobby Crowe. He was re-elected in 2015, defeating former interim Sheriff Scott Blair.

People who are interested in seeking a parish office this year will need to file with the Clerk of Court’s office in the courthouse during the filing period, which is August 6, 7, and 8. The primary election is October 12, and the general election will follow on November 16.