September 23, 2017
Updates on The Sheriff and Elections That Never Happened
Some people may wonder, where did that Sheriff election go? What’s the deal on this Coroner’s race, where a guy who dropped out is on the ballot? Every year people submit their papers to run and are eventually disqualified, usually due to residency issues or not appropriately filing taxes. The best way to beat an opponent is to disqualify them and save yourself a lot of time and money. Some people basically ‘drop out’ by not campaigning. They may have run out of time and/or money, or their heart is no longer in it, or they may have had a recent embarrassing incident that closes down their willingness to be in the public eye.
The lack of challengers for the following four positions (while 18 people are running for mayor and 30 people are vying for seven seats on the City Council) show a serious flaw in our democracy. In the Internet age, perhaps public life is not so appealing if one’s high school keg party photos will be aired 25 years later.
The Sheriff won in a walkover
After waiting several years for this election, only two people wanted the job. Incumbent Sheriff Marlin Gusman and Freddy Brooks, a former deputy at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO). Although many voters looked forward to insightful debates on the best way to manage the jail, and deal with local residents being held in pretrial detention (including possible intervention services), Mr. Brooks was disqualified due to taxes. This means Sheriff Gusman receives another term automatically. Because it happened early in the process, before the ballots had been made, he will not appear on the ballot.
The Coroner withdraws too late
Coroner Jeffrey Rouse filed for re-election, and Dwight McKenna filed to challenge him for the position. Late in the process, however, Mr. Rouse announced that he was withdrawing. Because the ballots had already been created, Mr. Rouse will be listed and the election will be held. Some people are still calling for Rouse’s re-election and, if he still doesn’t want the job, he can quit and a special election will be held in the spring. This would give time for more candidates to emerge (yet no others came forward this round), and force Dr. McKenna to run again, assuming he still wants the job.
Criminal District Court Clerk wins in walkover
Similar to the Sheriff, CDC Court Clerk Arthur Morrell had one challenger to his job. In this case, however, Danil Faust entered the primary as a Green Party Candidate while being registered as a member of the Democratic Party. “Small potatoes,” you may say, yet this is the realm of election technicalities. Someone has to be a registered member of their party to run as a representative of that party. As this disqualification happened early, Clerk will not be on the ballot.
Assessor wins in walkover
Erroll Williams walked into his third term as the Orleans Parish Assessor, also through the disqualification of his lone challenger, Anthony Brown, for failing to file taxes.