Open state legislature seats draw crowded fields as qualifying period begins

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District 91 candidates Carling Dinkler, Mandie Landry and Robert McKnight. (via candidate websites)

Several seats in the Louisiana state legislature will be vacant this year because their representatives are term-limited, and a crowd of contenders showed up Tuesday morning for the first day of the official qualifying period for the Oct. 12 election.

District 98 candidates Evan Bergeron, Aimee Adatto Freeman, Ravi Sangisetty and Kea Sherman. (via official websites)

Two of the most competitive elections in the Uptown area will be for state House of Representatives Districts 91 and 98, where both Reps. Walt Leger and Neil Abramson have served since 2007 and are now term-limited.

District 91 covers a large band of neighborhoods from the Irish Channel through Milan and Broadmoor into Hollygrove. Candidates who qualified to run for District 91 so far Tuesday morning are three Democrats, Carling Dinkler, Mandie Landry and Robert McKnight.

  • Dinkler, a resident of Marlyville, previously served as a staffer for two U.S. Congressmen and now serves as vice president of an investment firm, according to his website.
  • Landry, an attorney who lives in the Milan area, also previously served as a Congressional staffer and worked for Amnesty International, her website says.
  • McKnight, a staff attorney with the Orleans Parish public defender’s office, likewise previously worked in both U.S. Congress and for several state offices, according to his website.

District 98 is represented by Neil Abramson and covers the corner of the riverbend, and the surrounding Audubon, Carrollton, university and Freret areas. Qualified contenders as of noon Tuesday are four Democrats, Evan Bergeron, Aimee Adatto Freeman, Ravi Sangisetty and Kea Sherman.

  • Bergeon is an attorney, a board member of the New Leaders Council, and a former staffer for state Sen. Butch Gautreaux, according to his professional biography.
  • Freeman is a consultant and adjunct professor at the Tulane University business school, and she lives in west Carrollton, according to her campaign website.
  • Sangisetty is an attorney assisting with the state’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and member of the Audubon Commission, his website states.
  • Sherman is an attorney whose firm is based on Freret Street and a co-founder of Emerge Louisiana, which trains women to enter politics, her website says.

Senate District 9 is mostly based in Jefferson Parish, but extends into the Audubon area of Uptown. Its senator, Conrad Appel, is also term-limited. Only one candidate had qualified to run for his seat, Cameron Henry, a Republican state representative from Metairie who has reached the final term in his House seat.

A third House district, 93, also extends into the Garden District and Central City areas of Uptown, but its Rep. Royce Duplessis will not be term limited until 2028. Likewise, Senate District 5 is represented by Karen Carter Peterson, who is eligible to remain until 2024. Neither had drawn challengers as of Tuesday.

Other neighborhoods will see similarly competitive elections this year.

Senate District 3, being vacated by Sen. J.P. Morrell, has drawn two candidates, current District 100 state Rep. John Bagneris and current District 97 state Rep. Joe Bouie.

House District 97, which covers Mid-City and Gentilly, has three candidates so far, Ethan Ashley, Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste, and Matthew Willard.

In House District 100, Jason Hughes and Anthony Jackson Jr. have both qualified to run for Bagneris’ seat.

In House District 94, which covers Lakeview and part of Mid-City, Republican Rep. Stephanie Hilferty has drawn two challengers, fellow Republican Kirk Williamson and Democrat Tammy Savoie.

Senate District 4, currently held by Sen. Wesley Bishop, has drawn one contender, current District 99 state Rep. Jimmy Harris.

One candidate has filed to run for the District 99 seat, Jameel Shaheer.

Also in the Senate, District 1 Sen. Sharon Hewitt and District 7 Sen. Troy Carter have both qualified for re-election, with no challengers yet.

Statewide seats are also on the ballot. Gov. John Bel Edwards is facing challenges from Republicans Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and Attorney General Jeff Landry have also filed for re-election without any challengers yet.

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