In addition to a red-hot governor's race, several statewide races and a handful of local elections are hotly contested. Here's a quick look at eight barnburners on this Saturday's ballot.
Republicans John Young and Billy Nungesser are duking it out to land a runoff spot against Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, the only Democrat in the race. Holden should have a runoff berth locked up, but low black voter turnout could make this a tight three-way. Young and Nungesser took off the gloves last week in their attack ads — with each accusing the other of past sexual harassment of employees. Expect more in the final days, but can it possibly get uglier than this? Of course it can. This is Louisiana.
Incumbent Buddy Caldwell can't seem to get any love from fellow Republicans, even though he converted to the GOP more than four years ago. He faces former Congressman Jeff Landry, a tea party ideologue who has never tried a criminal case but who has the official GOP blessing. Landry accuses Caldwell of corruption at the hands of trial lawyers. Caldwell says Landry is unqualified to be AG, and he touts endorsements from DAs and sheriffs, who praise his crime-fighting record. Democrat Geri Broussard Baloney and several other lesser knowns could force a runoff.
Jefferson Parish President
Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni and veteran parish Councilman Elton Lagasse are squaring off in a generational war for the top job in parish government. It's also a classic East Bank-versus-West Bank conflict, even though both men reside on the East Bank (Lagasse's political base is the West Bank). Yenni, the young mayor, is counting on his energy to overcome the elder Lagasse's endorsements from the parish political establishment. Naturally, the attack ads are coming fast and furious.
Jefferson Parish Council-at-Large
What would a Jefferson Parish political brawl be without lawsuits over attack ads? Incumbent Chris Roberts faces former Kenner pol Louie Congemi and former Councilman Jimmy Lawson. A Congemi ad claimed Roberts failed to pay taxes; Roberts' spot riffed the classic tune "Louie Louie." Both pulled their ads to settle a lawsuit, and of course both claimed victory afterward. This is far from over.
State Senate District 7
State Sen. David Heitmeier set off a mad scramble when he decided to quit politics right before qualifying for his West Bank Senate seat. Leading contenders are state Rep. Jeff Arnold, former New Orleans City Councilman Troy Carter and businessman and civic leader Roy Glapion. Mayor Mitch Landrieu has it in for Arnold, and Hizzoner joins Congressman Cedric Richmond in backing Carter. Glapion, who co-led the effort to rebuild NORD, is the outsider hoping to break through.
State Senate District 9
Incumbent Conrad Appel has been a leader in education reform, but former state Rep. John LaBruzzo is running hard against him (and against Common Core) in Metairie. LaBruzzo was considered the least effective member of the House — by his peers — when he served two terms there, and several of his former colleagues are going all out to defeat him (again) this time. He lost a bid for re-election four years ago when redistricting put him in the same House district as state Rep. Nick Lorusso. Though not held in high esteem by his peers, LaBruzzo is a tireless campaigner.
House District 87
Rep. Ebony Woodruff won a special election two years ago and now seeks a full term from this West Jefferson district. Her main opponent, sort of, is former state Sen. Derrick Shepherd, who was sentenced to three years in federal prison on corruption charges. But Shepherd (like LaBruzzo in Senate District 9) is not easily shamed. He was disqualified under a constitutional provision against convicted felons running for state office, but he challenged that ruling in two courts. As of press time, his name will appear on the ballot, but votes for him won't be counted.