Races shape up for Nov. 4 ballot
District attorneys in Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Charles parishes were among the New Orleans-area public officials who were effectively re-elected Friday when the three-day qualifying period for the Nov. 4 election closed without bringing them any challengers.
However, a number of races drew some last-minute entries, creating a race in some instances and swelling an already crowded field in others.
In Orleans Parish, Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King continued to draw challengers — a half-dozen in all — while the race to replace embattled outgoing 22nd District Attorney Walter Reed got an unexpected jolt when Mandeville lawyer Robert B. Rees qualified.
Numerous incumbent judges in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes were re-elected without opposition, as is traditionally the case for judges, though there were some exceptions.
Orleans Criminal District Court Judge Frank Marullo, the longest-serving judge in state history, attracted several opponents. He is expected to face a legal challenge to his eligibility to run at age 74.
In Jefferson, Division F Judge Michael Mentz drew a challenge from Juan Labadie, a lawyer he ordered to serve 30 days of house arrest earlier this month. Also, Juvenile Court Judge Ann Murry Keller will be challenged by Jennifer Guillot Womble.
While Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick, Plaquemines Parish DA Charles J. Ballay and St. Charles Parish DA Joel Chaisson II won’t have to worry about getting re-elected, St. John Parish DA Tom Daley faces two challengers.
In Orleans, the DA’s race remains between incumbent Leon Cannizzaro and Lionel “Lon” Burns, while the office of St. Bernard’s outgoing DA John “Jack” Rowley attracted the interest of Assistant District Attorneys Michael Gorbaty and Glenn E. Diaz, as well as of Perry Nicosia, who until a few days ago was a 34th Judicial District Court judge.
In St. Tammany, the entry of Rees and Warren Montgomery, who had announced his intention to run earlier this week, could shake up what was widely expected to be a three-way race among Brian Trainor, Roy Burns and Alan Black.
Each of the candidates is vying to replace Reed, who has held the office since 1985 but who announced in July that he would not run again amid a storm of media reports about federal investigations, questionable campaign spending and his $30,000-a-year job with St. Tammany Parish Hospital.
Each of the candidates has promised to increase transparency in the office, which under Reed has sometimes had a bunker-like mentality, according to critics.
School Board races in Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles generally avoided the automatic re-election scenarios, as did the races for Plaquemines Parish president and Parish Council.
The race to fill the 97th District seat in the state House of Representatives vacated by Jared Brossett when he was elected to the City Council remained between former Mayor Marc Morial adviser Eugene Green and former Southern University at New Orleans administrator Joseph Bouie.
King, the Juvenile Court judge under indictment for allegedly lying about living in New Orleans when she was elected last year, is seen as particularly vulnerable.
Running against her are a six-pack of hopefuls, including former interim City Councilman Ernest “Freddie” Charbonnet, Desiree Cook-Calvin, Jacqueline Carroll-Gilds, Kimya Holmes, prosecutor “Nike” Roberts and Cynthia Samuel, the losing candidate last year who filed a formal complaint against King.
Incumbent Judge Julian Parker is officially leaving his Section G seat at Criminal District Court, deciding not to run again after 17 years. Parker, who is on a month’s sick leave, makes way for a face-off between longtime Municipal Court Judge Paul Sens and Byron C. Williams, a former federal prosecutor who is taking a leave from his post as counsel to the president of the Southern University system.
As for Marullo, who turns 75 on Dec. 31, he claims he falls under the 1921 state constitution, not the 70-year-old age limit set in the constitution that took effect just after he took office in 1974.
Opponent Graham Bosworth, a defense attorney and former prosecutor, is among those who beg to differ. Also running in the Section D race are defense attorney and former Orleans prosecutor Brigid Collins, defense attorney and former Magistrate Commissioner Rudy Gorrell and lawyer Marie Williams.
Along with Marullo, Criminal District Court Judges Laurie White and Arthur Hunter Jr. face challengers, with White going up against former prosecutor Kevin Guillory and Hunter facing a challenge from lawyer Amy Kern.
In Jefferson Parish:
Thirteen of the 16 judges on the 24th Judicial District Court were re-elected. Besides the Mentz-Labadie race, the two divisions with outgoing judges drew candidates.
Vying for the Division G seat being vacated by Judge Robert Pitre are Adrian Adams, a law clerk in the 24th JDC; Terri Miles, a former employee of the Ouachita Parish District Attorney’s Office; and Angel Varnado, who has been an assistant district attorney in Orleans and Jefferson.
The Division O seat, which will be vacant when Ross LaDart retires, has drawn five hopefuls: Thomas Anzelmo Jr., a Marrero lawyer; West Bank lawyer Frank Buck; Zoe Olivia Fleming, who lost a bid for a Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court seat last year; John E. Sudderth, a former assistant attorney general; and West Bank lawyer Danyelle Taylor.
In Harahan, Tim Walker will remain chief of police without opposition, though the five City Council seats drew numerous hopefuls, and the race to replace Mayor Vinny Mosca will be between Eric Chatelain and Tina Miceli.
On the north shore:
In the 22nd Judicial District, only one judge drew a challenger: Incumbent Dawn Amacker will face Nanine McCool in the race for the Division L, or family court, seat on the bench.
Advocate staff reporters John Simerman and Faimon A. Roberts III contributed to this report. Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.