- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 18, 2018

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Latest on Louisiana’s election sign-up period (all times local):

4:35 p.m.

The first day of Louisiana’s election sign-up period has ended with candidates registered to run against most of the state’s incumbent congressmen.

Four of the six U.S. House members drew challengers Wednesday for the Nov. 6 ballot: Republican Steve Scalise, Democrat Cedric Richmond, Republican Clay Higgins and Republican Garret Graves.

No opponents have qualified yet to run for the seats held by Republican incumbents Mike Johnson in northwest Louisiana and Ralph Abraham in northeast Louisiana.

Qualifying continues Thursday.

Though all six U.S. House members are running for re-election, only two have registered so far, Abraham and Richmond. Neither showed up in person, instead sending representatives to qualify for them.

Also on the ballot is a special election to choose a new secretary of state, after Republican Tom Schedler resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.


12:30 p.m.

Three of Louisiana’s Republican incumbent congressmen have drawn challengers for the Nov. 6 election on the first day of the registration period.

Democrats are seeking to oust Steve Scalise, the third-ranking GOP House member, in the 1st District; Clay Higgins in the 3rd District; and Garret Graves in the 6th District.

Scalise faces three opponents so far, including Democrats Jim Francis, who works on computer security systems, and Tammy Savoie, a retired Air Force psychologist. Both slammed Scalise as prioritizing the Republican Party over his district’s residents.

Two of Louisiana’s six U.S. House members have signed up for re-election bids so far: Democrat Cedric Richmond of New Orleans and Republican Ralph Abraham of Alto. Neither showed up in person, instead sending representatives to qualify for them.

The sign-up period continues through Friday.


10 a.m.

A Democrat running for one of Louisiana’s six U.S. House seats says he is the state’s first openly gay congressional candidate.

Justin DeWitt, who works for a land surveying company, signed up for the 6th District race on Wednesday. He’s challenging Republican incumbent Garret Graves for the Baton Rouge-based congressional seat.

DeWitt called Graves a “corporate sellout,” criticizing the congressman for taking money from PACs. The Democratic candidate, making his first bid for elected office, says he won’t accept PAC donations.

DeWitt was the first congressional candidate to register for Louisiana’s Nov. 6 ballot, on the opening day of the three-day qualifying period.

All six of the state’s incumbent congressmen are expected to sign up for re-election.

Candidates for the fall election must file their qualifying paperwork by Friday.


9 a.m.

Louisiana’s election registration period has opened, with a flurry of candidates at the secretary of state’s office to fill out paperwork and get on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Two of the four announced contenders in a special election for secretary of state qualified Wednesday morning: Republican former Sen. A.G. Crowe and Democrat Renee Fontenot Free, a former first assistant secretary of state.

The seat is open because Republican Tom Schedler resigned after being accused of sexual harassment by an employee. Whoever wins the race will fill the remaining year of Schedler’s term and will have to run again for the job in the 2019 election.

Top of the fall ballot are Louisiana’s U.S. House elections. All six incumbent congressmen intend to qualify for re-election.

The sign-up period runs through Friday.


5 a.m.

Candidates for Louisiana’s Nov. 6 election have to declare their intentions this week.

The sign-up period opens Wednesday and runs through Friday.

Top of the ballot are Louisiana’s U.S. House elections. All six incumbent congressmen are running for re-election. They include Republicans Steve Scalise, Clay Higgins, Mike Johnson, Ralph Abraham and Garret Graves and Democrat Cedric Richmond.

Also on the ballot is a special election for secretary of state, to fill the position vacated by Republican Tom Schedler after he was accused of sexual harassment.

At least four contenders are running. The three Republicans are former Sen. A.G. Crowe of Slidell, Rep. Rick Edmonds of Baton Rouge and Rep. Julie Stokes of Kenner. The only Democrat to announce is Renee Fontenot Free, director of the attorney general’s public protection division.

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