Five more qualify in crowded Lafayette School Board race

Five more candidates have qualified to run for seats on the Lafayette School Board, where a faction of the current board has been in an increasingly bitter fight with Superintendent Pat Cooper.

The five qualifying with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday brings the total number of candidates running in the Nov. 4 election so far to 16.

Qualifying for the Nov. 4 ballot ends Friday.

The School Board election is expected to draw a lot of attention and voter interest because of the ongoing public disputes between Cooper and a majority on the current board.

Cooper, who is backed by influential Lafayette business leaders and groups, has been fighting to hang on to his job as the School Board pursues an investigation of some of his actions that could lead to his termination.

Cooper this week publicly disclosed items the attorney discussed with him, including personnel and pay decisions some board members have claimed were improper.

On Thursday, two candidates qualified for the District 4 seat: incumbent Tehmi Chassion, D-Lafayette, and Erica Williams, D-Lafayette.

Another new candidate to the board races, Kathleen Schott Espinoza, No Party-Lafayette, qualified for District 6 seat.

Two more incumbents: Shelton Cobb, D-Lafayette, for District 3, and Hunter Beasley, Other-Lafayette, of District 8, also qualified Thursday.

At Wednesday’s School Board meeting, incumbents Greg Awbrey, District 6, and Rae Trahan, District 9, both announced they would not seek re-election. Both districts had at least two candidates qualify for the fall election.

Another board member, Mark Allen Babineaux will not seek re-election to the board and qualified for a district judge race against Michelle Meaux Breaux on Wednesday.

Here are the other qualified candidates by district:

District 1: Mary Morrison, D-Scott

District 2: Tommy Angelle, incumbent, D-Carencro; and Simon Mahan, No Party-Lafayette

District 3: Elroy Broussard, D-Lafayette

District 5: Kermit J. Bouillion, incumbent, R-Duson; and Britt Latiolais, R-Lafayette

District 6: Justin Centanni, R-Lafayette

District 7: Mark Cockerham, incumbent, R-Lafayette; and Dawn Morris, R-Lafayette

District 9: Jeremy Hidalgo, R-Youngsville; and Brian West, R-Lafayette.