DayeTime: Incumbents vs. Challengers
Today we find out if the “house cleaning” in last year’s School Board elections was an anomaly or a trend.
You may recall in that election that two incumbent board members were re-elected without opposition. Four that sought re-election drew challengers. Three incumbents chose not to run for re-election. One challenger was elected without opposition. All four incumbents with opposition were defeated.
Incumbents 2, Challengers 4.
This year all nine police jurors decided they wanted to serve another term. Four had no challengers. Five do.
If you go back to the elections prior to the 2018 and 2019 races, you can see a similarity between the two parishwide panels.
In 2014, all nine School Board members sought re-election. Seven won without opposition. One board member won her race and one board member was defeated.
Incumbents 8, Challengers 1.
In 2015, six jurors ran for another term and three decided they’d had enough fun. All six incumbents defeated their opponents.
Incumbents 6, Challengers 0.
In 2018, the proposed Red River Charter Academy was seen as a major issue. The School Board had overwhelmingly rejected the charter school’s application for several years, despite independent evaluators’ recommendation for approval.
Some voters were still upset that the School Board tried to pass a 1-cent sales tax for school district personnel raises, which was soundly defeated. Some school personnel were upset that the board members gave up too easily and didn’t try again.
Those issues could have set up the anti-incumbent vote in the School Board elections of 2018.
The Police Jury hasn’t had any significant new problem. It has the same problems that have seen any incumbent who wants the job handed the job either after qualifying as the only candidate or in a walk in the primary election.
Jurors did ask voters to approve a group of road district taxes a few years ago. One passed, three failed.
The one that passed -- the Simmesport-Moreauville-Plaucheville-Hamburg area -- has seen several road improvement projects completed with the tax revenues. However, there are property owners that are upset at the significant hike in local taxes.
It will be interesting to see which feeling carries the day on Election Day -- glad about new roads or mad about new taxes.
The weasel in the woodpile in the Police Jury elections is the Justice Center sales tax, which will be on the Nov. 16 ballot. That tax has nothing to do with the Police Jury. They will not administer it. They will not collect it. They did not put it on the ballot.
Still, it is being called “the courthouse tax,” and everyone knows the Police Jury “owns” the courthouse.
So, if you are mad at your police juror because of the upcoming 1/2-cent sales tax for the Justice Center, don’t be. That should not be an issue in the Police Jury race.
A citizens group has raised public awareness of vote-buying. Their intent is to be a kitchen light that will send the cockroaches scurrying back into the black corners.
My mother-in-law once told me that vote-buying was common when she was a young married woman.
While she was standing in line to vote one election day, a man offered to pay her $5 to vote for a specific candidate. As it turned out, she was going to vote for that candidate anyway, so she “didn’t feel right taking his money,” she said.
However, her broom was a bit threadbare so she told the man she needed a new broom. She didn’t say, “Buy me a broom and I’ll vote for your candidate,” just “I need a new broom,” which was the truth.
He left for about five minutes and came back with a broom just as my mother-in-law was going to cast her vote.
“Just put it in the corner,” she said. “Thank you.”
A mayor in a town in another parish a few decades ago was accused of vote-buying, which he denied but everyone knew he was “incorrect in his remembrance of events.”
He told me people don’t really want “good government. They want ‘pretty good’ government. They want that little bit of wiggle room just in case they need a favor from their government officials.”
I believe the citizens group campaigning for clean elections and good government is serious, and I hope it succeeds.
The Police Jury races have been fairly quiet. At least, if there was any noise out in the districts I didn't hear it. I am a bit surprised that it has been as quiet as it has been, especially in one district which has a notorious “noise maker” on the ballot.
There are a lot of yard signs in three races -- state representative, clerk of court and sheriff. There are some signs up for state senator and state BESE member. I’ve seen a few up in some of the other state and local races, but only a smattering.
People have asked me who I voted for. I usually tell them I don’t make endorsements of candidates and revealing my vote would be an endorsement.
However, in this case I will make an exception. I voted early and, as I found out, I was still registered to vote at a previous address. I corrected that oversight while I was at the Registrar’s Office to vote.
So, for what it’s worth, (drum roll) -- I voted for Keller for Police Jury District 6.
What’s that you say? Both candidates for that office are named Keller?
So they are.