Judge races, two mayoral contests dominate New Orleans area ballot

Voters in Gretna and Westwego will choose mayors and city council members Saturday while those in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes will cast ballots in judicial races in an otherwise low-profile election.

Runoff elections for races not decided in the primary will be May 4.

Voting hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In Gretna, two City Council members, Belinda Constant and Vincent Cox III, are competing to replace longtime Gretna Mayor Ronnie Harris, who decided not to seek an eighth term in order to take the reins of the Louisiana Municipal Association.

In Westwego, incumbent Mayor Johnny Shaddinger is being challenged by Westwego Councilman Ted Munch and former Councilwoman Lisa Valence. The three candidates ran against each other about five years ago when Shaddinger was first elected to the position in a special election.

Some council contests also are on the ballot in both towns. In Gretna, three candidates are running for the District 2 seat left open by Constant’s mayoral run: Carl Contranchis, Joseph A. Marino III and Sherman Rogers.

A field of four candidates is running for the District 3 seat left open by Cox’s run for mayor: Rodney Hinrichs, Elaine Molaison Johnson, Mark Miller and Milos Valenta.

In Westwego, Al Kaiser and Johnny Nobles Jr. are facing off for the District 2 council seat. Norman J. Fonseca and Ivy Rogers are running for the District 3 seat. Harris Camardelle, Melvin J. Guidry and Garrison “Gary’’ Toups are vying for the District 4 seat. And in District 5, John Poche, Courtney Watts Reyes and Larry J. Warino are in the race.

Three parishes in the metro area have judicial races on the ballot. In Orleans Parish, four candidates are running for Juvenile Court judge. George “Gino’’ Gates IV, Doug Hammel, Yolanda J. King and Cynthia Samuel are running for the Section E seat.

Jefferson Parish voters will choose from among four political newcomers who are seeking the 24th Judicial District Court Division D seat left open by the election of Judge Robert M. Murphy to the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal. Hilary Landry, Lorraine Perkins McInnis, Scott Schlegel and John Sudderth are running.

In St. Tammany Parish, two candidates are running for the 22nd Judicial District Division G seat left vacant open when William J. Crain was elected to the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal last year: Scott Gardner and Alan Zaunbrecher.