Election 2012
3:22 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Few appeals court judges get election challenges; many elected without opposition

Twenty-two appeals court judgeships are on the Nov. 6 ballot, but voters will only make choices in five of those races.

That's because more than three-quarters of the jobs were handed to candidates when they attracted no opposition as the qualifying period closed last week.

Most of those were incumbents, but five candidates are getting the 10-year terms for the first time without even a challenge, all district court judges moving up the judicial system ladder.

In Louisiana, races for the judiciary often attract little attention.

Ginger Sawyer has followed judicial races for two decades in her work for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. Sawyer says incumbent judges rarely get challenged and appeals court positions often function as a system of seniority or promotion for district court judges.

Seventeen state appeals court judges were elected to office when no one signed up to run against them on the Nov. 6 ballot. A look at who won the office without a challenger:

1st CIRCUIT (based in Baton Rouge):

—Vanessa Guidry-Whipple (incumbent), D-Bourg.

—Page McClendon (incumbent), R-Mandeville.

—Will Crain, R-Madisonville.

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2nd CIRCUIT (based in Shreveport):

—Felicia Toney Williams (incumbent), D-Tallulah.

—D. Milton Moore III (incumbent), D-Monroe.

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3rd CIRCUIT (based in Lake Charles):

—Elizabeth Pickett (incumbent), D-Many.

—Billy Ezell (incumbent), R-Lake Charles.

—John Saunders (incumbent), D-Ville Platte.

—Sylvia Cooks (incumbent), D-Lafayette.

—John Conery, R-New Iberia.

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4th CIRCUIT (based in New Orleans):

—James McKay III (incumbent), D-New Orleans.

—Edwin Lombard (incumbent), D-New Orleans.

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5th CIRCUIT (based in Gretna):

—Susan Chehardy (incumbent), R-River Ridge.

—Steve Windhorst, R-Gretna.

—Hans Liljeberg, R-Metairie.

—Robert Murphy, R-Metairie.

—Robert Chaisson (incumbent), D-Destrehan.

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Source: Louisiana Secretary of State's Office

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