The year 2009 was supposed to be slow in terms of elections, but already there are signs it will be busier than expected. No big elections (i.e., mayor, governor, Congress or U.S. Senate) are scheduled for next year, but several special elections for lesser but still very important offices are set for April 4 and some of them are shaping up to be hotly contested.
Chalk up at least some of it to the domino effect. State Rep. J.P. Morrellwon a special election on Dec. 6 for the state Senate, creating a vacancy in House District 97, and Traffic Court Judge Paul Boninwon a seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in October, opening up a seat at Traffic Court. In addition, New Orleans Juvenile Judge C. Hearn Taylor has retired, creating a vacancy on that bench. Meanwhile, Jefferson Parish will have four matters on the April 4 ballot. District 5 Councilmember Jennifer Sneed abruptly retired from politics in August, creating a vacancy on the council, and School Board Member Ellen Kovachs election as district judge has opened a spot on the school board. Two tax propositions also will be on the Jefferson Parish ballot that day a new quarter-cent sales tax for public safety and renewal of a millage for transit. Qualifying for the April 4 elections will be Feb. 11-13 fewer than two weeks before Mardi Gras. Runoffs, if needed, will be May 2 the second week of Jazz Fest. Clancy DuBos