Second Circuit Court of Appeal Judge James “Jimbo” Stephens secured re-election with 59 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary election, marking the second time he has defeated the same local judge for the appeal court office.
Stephens, an Independent from Baskin, collected 33,683 votes. His opponent, Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Sharon Marchman, a Republican from Monroe, recorded only 23,258 votes, or 41 percent of the vote.
Those were the unofficial results released by the Secretary of State in the hours after polls closed Tuesday evening.
Last fall, Stephens defeated Marchman in a special election for the First District's Section 2A seat on the Second Circuit. The special election was called in light of the late Second Circuit Judge Larry Lolley's early retirement.
The Ouachita Citizen could not reach Stephens for comment before the newspaper went to press Tuesday evening.
Marchman expressed disappointment in the election's outcome.
“I'm very grateful to all the people who supported me,” Marchman said. “I had so many people who worked very, very hard for me. I appreciate everyone who supported me and voted for me.”
Voter turnout in the Second Circuit race was some 46.2 percent, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State's website.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Marcus Hunter secured election to the Fourth Judicial District Court bench in a race against Monroe City Court Judge Aisha Clark.
Hunter recorded 4,771 votes, or 53 percent of the vote, while Clark tallied 47 percent of the vote, or 4,156 votes.
“It's a testament to the people and their hard work,” Hunter said. “I'm honored and privileged to serve the people of this district, and I look forward to continuing that work from the bench.”
Hunter will complete the unexpired term of Judge Carl Sharp, who retired from office earlier this year.
SECRETARY OF STATE
In the Secretary of State's race, interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican, will face Gwen Collins-Greenup, a Democrat, in the run-off in December.
Ardoin collected 286,284 votes, or 21 percent of the vote, while Collins-Greenup received 20 percent of the vote, or 275,073 votes.
Renee Free came in third with 226,280 votes; Rick Edmonds came in fourth with 159,006 votes; Rep. Julie Stokes came in fifth with 152,559 votes; Thomas Kennedy III came in sixth with 130,191 votes; Heather Cloud came in seventh with 68,166 votes; A.G. Crowe came in eighth with 57,273 votes; and Matt Moreau came in ninth with 20,322 votes.
FIFTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
In the Fifth Congressional District race, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham secured re-election with 67 percent of the vote, or 149,010 votes. Abraham faced three challengers: Billy Burkette (4,799 votes), Jessee Fleenor (67,113 votes), and Kyle Randol (3,011 votes).
On another front, Ouachita Parish voters voted in favor of allowing fantasy sports contests in the parish.
Meanwhile, voters across the state gave their resounding approval to six amendments to the Louisiana Constitution.
Each amendment passed with at least 55 percent of the vote.
The first amendment will prohibit convicted felons from serving in public office within five y ears after the completion of their sentence, unless they are pardoned.
The second amendment will require a unanimous jury verdict in all non-capital felony cases instead of the 10-2 jury verdict previously allowed. The new unanimous verdict requirement is effective for offenses committed after Jan. 1, 2019.
The third amendment will allow governmental entities to donate the use of public equipment and personnel to other governmental entities. The donation must be detailed in a written agreement.
The fourth amendment will forbid lawmakers from continuing to appropriate or dedicate monies in the Transportation Trust Fund to state police for traffic control purposes. Prior to approval of the amendment, some 20 percent of the money in the trust fund were used for traffic control purposes.
The fifth amendment will allow a disabled veteran, spouse of a first responder who died, or active duty military or first responder to retain certain tax exemptions when held in a trust.
Under the sixth amendment approved, if a reassessment increases by more than 50 percent, the increase in property taxes must be phased in over four years instead of requiring property owners to pay all taxes according to assessed values.