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Edwards, Schroder force run off set for Nov. 18

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Associate Editor

In a less heralded election than expected with an unofficial 13.5 percent voter turnout statewide, the lone Democrat in the race for State Treasurer Derrick Edwards forced a runoff with Republican John Schroder.
The two candidates were the top vote getters in a field that also included Angele Davis, Terry Hughes, Joseph Little, and Neil Riser.
According to the Louisiana Secretary of State, Edwards received 31 percent of the 401,499 votes that were cast, and Schroder finished two percentage points ahead of Davis to earn a spot in the runoff that is set for November 18.
Riser finished fourth in the race at 18 percent while Hughes and Little finished with three percent and two percent respectively.
Here locally in Evangeline Parish, Davis was the top vote getter. According to returns from the Evangeline Clerk of Court Office, she received 479 votes which was 28.89 percent of the vote. Schroder was close behind at a 24.55 percent clip with 407 votes. Edwards in the parish received 358 votes to Riser’s 331. Hughes earned 51 while Little earned 32.
Early voting numbers in the parish indicate that Schroder led with 28 percent of the 308 votes. Edwards was second in early voting with 21 percent nudging out Davis and Riser who were tied with 21 percent. Hughes came it at four percent of the early vote in Evangeline Parish compared to Little’s two percent.
The race was held to see who would replace outgoing treasurer John Kennedy who was elected to the U.S. Senate last year. The race also led some across Louisiana to question if the state should elect its state treasurer based on such low turnout.
“It’s not an office where people really understand what it does,” said Kirby Goidel in an interview with New Orleans’ The Times-Picayune. Goidel, who is a former political scientist at LSU now at Texas A&M, added, “There is no way to say (the winner) is the popular choice when voter turnout is that low.”
According to The Times-Picayune, Goidel “asserted that Americans are being asked to participate in too many elections and vote for too many offices. He believes election overload poses a threat to democracy because voters aren’t able to focus on important elections and holding officials accountable. (He) believes the Louisiana treasurer seems like a position that might be better served as an appointed position, rather than an elected one.”
The office holder of state treasurer was originally appointed by the Louisiana Legislature until Robert Hunter became the first to be elected in 1855.
Also on Saturday’s ballot were three proposed constitutional amendments. All three received enough votes for passage.
The first amendment exempts from property taxes materials and other property delivered to a construction site to be made part of a building or other construction. It passed statewide with an overwhelming 66 percent of the vote and received 71.55 percent of the vote here in Evangeline Parish.
Constitutional Amendment Number 2 also passed overwhelmingly receiving two-thirds of the vote both statewide and in the parish. The amendment authorizes an exemption from ad valorem property tax for the total assessed value of the homestead of an unmarried surviving spouse of a person who died while performing their duties as an emergency medical responder, technician, paramedic, volunteer firefighter, or a law enforcement or fire protection officer.
Constitutional Amendment Number Three narrowly passed statewide with 53 percent of the vote and narrowly failed in Evangeline Parish with 822 no votes compared to 817 votes in favor. The amendment is in response to the proposed gasoline tax that failed to make it out of the state legislature during this year’s session. Now that the amendment has passed, any new taxes levied on gasoline, diesel, and special fuels will be dedicated to the Construction Subfund, which solely shall be used for project delivery, construction, and maintenance of transportation and capital transit infrastructure projects and not for funding for the payment of employee wages and related benefits or employee retirement benefits.

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