St. Charles Parish prepares for runoff elections

One local elected position and one St. Charles-St. John area state representative position will be decided in the upcoming Saturday, Nov. 18 election ballot, along with several statewide elected positions and multiple state constitutional amendments.

The St. Charles Parish Councilmember District V position, which is attached to four different voting precincts within St. Charles Parish, will be decided later this month in a runoff between two St. Rose residents – Michelle O’Daniels, registered Republican, and Ryant Price, registered Democrat. O’Daniels earned a spot on the November runoff ballot by garnering 48.6 percent of votes in October’s election, while Price did the same after receiving 38.2 percent. The two candidates are seeking to replace the District V seat soon to be vacated by current Councilmember Marilyn Bellock.

The State Representative position for the 57th Representative District will also be decided later this month, a race whittled down to either Sylvia Taylor, registered Democrat, or Russell “Russ” Wise, who is unaffiliated with any political party. The 57th District had a higher number of candidates run for the position in October in comparison to other local races, with eight different candidates initially running.

Taylor made the November ballot cut with 17.4 percent of the vote, while Wise garnered a close 15.9 percent of the vote, amounting to just a 149-vote difference. Both candidates are newcomers to the Louisiana House of Representatives, seeking to replace term-limited Representative Randall Gaines, elected in 2012.

The 57th District encompasses an area that includes parts of St. John the Baptist Parish – most notably featuring Laplace – as well as key areas in St. Charles Parish including Boutte, Hahnville and Killona.

The runoff elections are a result of Louisiana’s “jungle primary” system, which requires runoffs in races having three or more candidates after any single candidate does not earn over 50 percent of the vote in the primary election.

In addition to the two local position runoff elections, St. Charles Parish voters will also help decide a few November statewide runoff races, including races for Secretary of State, Attorney General and Treasurer.

November 18 will further give St. Charles Parish voters a hand in deciding four proposed state constitutional amendments. Amendment issues being put before voters for consideration include a measure amending the timing constraints of the governor’s veto authority, inactive special use funding issues, authority for parishes to offer ad valorem tax exemptions for qualified first responders, and legislative authority to use $250 million from the state’s Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund for decreasing state budget deficits.

October’s ballot saw all prior state amendments pass with an overwhelming majority.

Election officials are hopeful for a better turnout in November versus October’s low Louisiana voter turnout, which attracted just 36 percent of around 3 million registered Louisiana voters to polls. The low October turnout was one of the lowest levels in recent history, comparable as far back to 2011, when former Governor Bobby Jindal faced re-election.


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