Voters in West Baton Rouge Parish will have a lot of choices to make in the next election and across a broad range of posts, from governor to Parish Council seats.
The most interesting election decisions for local voters will be in parishwide elections, where three out of WBR’s five parish level officials were elected unopposed while two incumbents face a wall of opposition.
Incumbent Sheriff Mike Cazes, a Democrat from Port Allen, will face three opponents in a battle for his fifth term in office. Cazes is a Port Allen Democrat.
A former 18th Judicial District judge, J. Robin Free, also a Port Allen Democrat, qualified late Thursday. He joined Barnell L. Williams, a Democrat who lives in Addis, and Mike Zito, another Democrat from Port Allen, in the race for Cazes’ job.
Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot, another long-serving official, will face a challenge from Clayton Hebert, a Democrat who lives in Brusly. Berthelot, a Democrat, lives in Addis.
Clerk of Court Mark Graffeo, a Democrat residing in Port Allen, was one of two incumbents reelected without opposition along with Coroner Phil Padgett, a Port Allen Republican.
"Chris" Guerin will take over the post of assessor after being elected without an opponent to replace Barney “Frog” Altazan, who announced earlier this year he would not seek reelection. Guerin is an Independent who lives in Port Allen.
In a year when many members of the Parish Council have completed their term limits, only one was reelected without opposition, District 1’s Kirk Allain, a Democrat and a resident of Addis.
In District 2, incumbent Christopher “Fish” Kershaw will face challenges from Jason Gill, a Republican residing in Brusly. Kershaw, a Brusly resident, claims no party affiliation.
The race for the District 3 seat does not include an incumbent, but three opponents who are all Democrats and all residents of Brusly—Tammy Clayton-Jones, Jeannetta Bynum Franklin and Atley Walker Jr.
Running for the District 4 Parish Council seat are two men from Port Allen, Independent Jeffrey “Petit” Kershaw and Republican Caleb Kleinpeter.
Running to fill another seat without an incumbent are two candidates who want to be the next District 5 representative.
Reynard Douglas III, an Independent, and Democrat Kenneth Gordon, both of Port Allen, will vie for the post.
In District 6, Carey Denstel was elected without opposition. He is a Democrat living in Port Allen.
Four candidates are running for the council's District 7 seat, according to records obtained from the Secretary of State.
Democrat Natahia Carter Benoit, Republican Allen Crowe, Republican Scott Roe, and Ross Rumfola, who declared no party during qualifying, will face one another in that race. Rumfola is a resident of Bueche, while the other three live in Port Allen.
District 8’s incumbent member, Barry Hugghins, no party affiliation, faces opposition for his post from Craig “Moonie” Bergeron, a Democrat. Both men live in Port Allen.
In another Parish Council race with no incumbent running, three candidates are vying for the District 9 seat, Elliot Dogan, no party, Port Allen, and Democrats Antionette Jackson and Gary “Shaq” Joseph. All three live in Port Allen.