Two of four Avoyelles Parish races decided without election;
Jill Guidry was elected without opposition to remain on the Avoyelles Parish School Board to fill out the remaining term of Van Kojis, who resigned last year for health reasons.
Guidry has been serving as acting board member for District 8 since August. She was elected to serve as vice president this year at the January meeting.
Also drawing no opponents for the March 20 election was acting Ward 7 Constable Shelia Callihan, who was appointed to the position after her father, Sylvester Callihan, was re-elected without opposition but died prior to the Nov. 3 election.
There will be elections on March 20 for Bunkie District 3 alderman, Cottonport District 4 alderman and U.S. 5th District congressman.
ON MARCH 20 BALLOT
In Cottonport, incumbent Demple Prater qualified Friday, making it a two-candidate contest between her and Peter Chenevert to fill the seat won by Gerald Mayeux on Nov. 3.
Mayeux, the retired police chief of Cottonport, defeated Prater by four votes. However, in between his qualifying for the race in the summer and the election in the fall, Mayeux had moved to Marksville. Since he no longer lives in the election district, he could not take office.
Prater was appointed to continue serving in the seat she has held for four years until the special election to fill the position. She is challenged by Peter Chenevert.
In Bunkie Council District 3, four candidates will be seeking to serve out the remaining term of Travis Armand, who resigned after he moved out of Bunkie.
The candidates are Kenny Hazelton, Kendricks Johnson, Anthony Clay Whittington and George Pepis.
5th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
The only other election on the ballot is to elect a 5th Congressional District representative to replace Luke Letlow, who died of COVID a few days before he was to be sworn in as the district's new congressman. He defeated fellow-Republican Lance Harris of Rapides Parish in a runoff on Dec. 5 and died Dec. 29.
There are 13 candidates for that congressional seat -- nine Republicans, two Democrats and two independents.
Letlow's widow Julia is considered the favorite in the race. Her main rival appears to be Democrat Sandra Christophe of Alexandria, who finished third in the Nov. 3 primary with 16 percent of the votes.
Letlow is from Richland Parish and is considered the front-runner due to support from former U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and her husband's stated wish that his wife succeed him. In addition, the northeast area of the sprawling district has controlled the seat for decades.
The Alexandria area holds some political weight, but not enough to send another Central Louisianian to Congress since the old 8th District of Gillis Long and Clyde Holloway was dissolved.
The district continues south into Acadiana, to Opelousas, and cuts across the top of the Florida Parishes to Bogalusa. These areas could be important in deciding the outcome of a close election, but candidates hailing from these outlying areas are not given much chance of making the runoff.
The district is the "reddest" of the six congressional districts, meaning it leans heavily toward Republican. With nine Republicans seeking to carry their party's banner to Washington, D.C., it is possible a strong Democrat or independent could sneak into the runoff, but would be a definite underdog in that election.
The other GOP candidates are Chad Conerly of Kentwood, Allen Guillory of Lawtell, Horace Melton III of Shreveport, Richard Pannell of Dry Prong, Sancha Smith of Opelousas and Errol Victor of Slidell.
Jessica Honsinger Hollister of Bogalusa is the other Democrat.
Jim Davis of Monroe has no party affiliation. M.V. "Vinny" Mendoza is an independent from Ponchatoula who has run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in November and in 2016. He ran twice as a Democrat against Steve Scalise in the 1st Congressional District, in 2012 and 2014. He qualified to run for governor in 2019 but was removed from the ballot after it was found he did not meet all eligibility requirements to run. It was found that he had not filed state and federal income taxes for each of the previous five years.
Guidry said she is honored and pleased to be elected to the District 8 board position.
"I will do my best to serve with honor, dedication and integrity," Guidry said.
She said she will also commit to serving the board as its vice president.
Callihan said she plans "to follow in Daddy's footsteps" and follow the example he set as Ward 7 constable.
"I will be humble, like he was," she said. "I have been fortunate that I have not had an argument with anyone that I have served. I am a 'people person' and try to get along with people."
Callihan said she will "Do what Daddy did. He always did his job with a smile and treated people with respect."