Candidates vie for district attorney, judge, school board in St. John Parish

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — While many elected officials in St. John the Baptist Parish may have breathed a sigh of relief Friday afternoon after learning they would not face any opposition in the Nov. 4 election, District 8 School Board member Russ Wise had a slightly different reaction.

“I may be the only political candidate on Earth to say this, but I’m disappointed no one ran against me,” Wise said Monday morning. “No one is so good at the job that he shouldn’t be challenged. Every elected official should have to walk the street every few years to defend his decisions and be held accountable for his record.”

Wise said he was happy to be returning to his seat on the Board for four more years, but he would “much rather be coming back after proving myself to the voters than coming back by default.”

The majority of St. John Parish incumbents were automatically elected late Friday afternoon after no challengers qualified to run against them in the November election.

Two out of the three judges in the 40th Judicial District Court — Judge Madeline Jasmine of Division A and Judge Sterling Snowdy of Division C — garnered no opposition for their seats.

Judge Mary Becnel, who currently holds the Division B seat, will compete in a three-way race against Mona Joseph and Rob Snyder, two other Democrats from LaPlace.

The St. John Parish District Attorney seat is also being sought be three qualifiers — incumbent Tom Daley of LaPlace, Democrat Geri Baloney of LaPlace and Democrat Bridget Dinvaut of LaPlace. Daley lists no party affiliation.

Baloney launched her own law firm in 1997, and Dinvaut most recently worked as an assistant district attorney in Daley’s office.

In a repeat contest from four years ago, incumbent District 10 School Board member Rodney Nicholas, a Democrat, will once again face off with Democrat Matthew Ory for a seat on the Board.

In 2010, Nicholas defeated Ory by a 60-vote margin for the position.

In the District 9 School Board race, incumbent Lowell Bacas, a Republican, will face Shawn Wallace, a Democrat, in November.

District 1 School Board member Russell Jack Jr. faced no opposition as qualifying ended Friday, nor did School Board members Albert Burl III of District 2, Gerald Keller of District 3, Patrick Sanders of District 4, Sherry DeFrancesch of District 5, Keith Jones of District 6, Phillip Johnson of District 7, Wise of District 8 and Clarence Triche of District 11.

District 1 and District 5 voters will be the only ones in St. John Parish deciding on a Justice of the Peace in November.

In District 1, Edgard voters will choose between Haston Lewis Jr. and Charo Bossier-Holden, both Democrats, as their Justice of the Peace.

In District 5, LaPlace voters will choose either Greg Maurin or Beverly Frank, both Democrats, as their Justice of the Peace.

Justices of the Peace Cherry Frank, Diane Jacob, Rosie Monica, Wilfred Mitchell Jr. and Todd Clement Sr. all faced no opposition as qualifying ended Friday.

All parish Constable Justices of the Peace — Chyral August, Barry Ellis, Anatole Jacob, Russel Landeche, Robert Brady, Don Detillier and Keith Bourgeois — were automatically re-elected, facing no opponents.

Early voting is Oct. 21-25 and 27-28.