The Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office said Barry Ivey, of Central, won Saturday’s election to fill the remainder of Clif Richardson’s term in the House District 65 seat, which covers northeastern East Baton Rouge Parish. Richardson resigned last year.
Jefferson Parish voters, meanwhile, elected Julie Stokes to fill the state House District 79 seat vacated by Tony Ligi, who resigned to become executive director and legal counsel of the Jefferson Business Council.
Ivey, making his first run for public office, received 2,202 votes, or 53 percent, to defeat Metro Councilman Scott Wilson, who got 1,953 votes, or 47 percent, according to a complete, but unofficial tally. Stokes, of Kenner, won 2,693 votes, or 56 percent, unofficial results show. She defeated three Metairie Republicans — Jack Rizzuto, Allison Bent Bowler and Paul Hankins Villalobos.
Election results are certified 12 days after the election as long as there are no challenges, said Meg Casper, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office.
Ivey, 33, is president of Pinnacle Precision Services and a graduate of Central High School and LSU. During the campaign, both he and Wilson promised to work to relieve traffic congestion and each supported extensions and expansion of area roads to give commuters alternative routes to downtown, the newspaper said.
The Times-Picayune reported (http://bit.ly/YhQ0k5 ) Stokes, 43, is an accountant making her first complete run for public office and will represent a district that covers west Metairie and north Kenner. She and her husband also run Stokes & Associates Inc., a rehabilitation and life-coaching business in New Orleans.
The candidates largely avoided taking specific positions on some of the major issues likely to face the Legislature in the spring session, the newspaper reported. Among those are the privatization of Louisiana’s public hospitals, the elimination of some current tax incentives and the creation of new ones, the consolidation of some of the state’s universities and Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to eliminate income taxes in favor of raising the state sales tax.
Both elections drew small turnouts — 17 percent in the East Baton Rouge Parish contest and 15 percent in the Jefferson Parish election.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicted between 16 and 18 percent turnout for the two elections. Schedler said the low turnout — the only balloting in the state on Saturday — proves his point that Louisiana asks voters to come to the polls too often, particularly on smaller issues that can wait and be consolidated in fewer elections considering more issues.
A study showed that Louisiana held 70 elections, about double the rest of the country, between January 2005 and December 2010, Schedler said.
That said, however, Schedler added he understood the need to fill the seats in the state House before the Louisiana Legislature convenes April 8. “People need to have their representative in place when the session begins,” Schedler said.