Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
The early voting period is well under way and voter turnout has been steady at all four polling locations.
A total of 438 ballots were received on Thursday, along with 423 on Wednesday and 576 on Tuesday, in the Republican Primary election, which brings the early voting total to 1,437 through Thursday.
Voting in the Democratic Primary election remains slow compared to the Republican turnout. A total of 367 ballots have been received through Thursday, Feb. 21, which includes 57 on Thursday, 80 on Wednesday, and 230 more ballots on Tuesday.
Only the Republican Primary election has locally contested races.
Arguably, the most anticipated race on the Republican ballot includes the highly contested race for Orange County Judge which features candidates Brint Carlton, John Dubose, Mike Hamilton and Mike White. The winner of this race will be uncontested in November and become the new Orange County Judge since current Judge Carl Thibodeaux has announced his plans to retire.
Four new candidates have emerged for the Orange County Commissioner Precinct 2 race also. These candidates include Barry Burton, Ron Cowling, Jason Denman and Ted Williams. The winner will advance to the November election unopposed and assume the seat held by current commissioner, Owen Burton, who will step down at the end of 2014.
Joy Dubose-Simonton and Candice Conroy Steele are seeking the Republican nomination for Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3 this March. The winner will face incumbent Justice of the Peace Janice Menard in November.
In the race for Orange County District Clerk, incumbent Vickie Edgerly is being opposed by Kay Abbott. The winning party nominee will be unopposed in November.
Zach Johnson, the Orange County Republican Chairperson, has opted to not seek re-election after only serving a single term. New candidates seeking the position are Sheila Faske and Jerry Wilson.
Early voting for the Orange County Democratic and Republican Primary Elections is from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 24 and concludes on Friday, Feb. 28. Election day is Tuesday, March 4.
Early voting locations are at the Orange Public Library, the Bridge City Public Works Building, First Baptist Church in Mauriceville and the Raymond Gould Community Center in Vidor.
There are several federal and state races of interest to Orange County voters as well, including U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative for District 36, currently held by Steve Stockman who is seeking the U.S. Senator position this election. Twelve Republican candidates are seeking the District 36 seat, while only one Democrat is seeking the same position.
Other races of interest include governor, lieutenant governor, railroad commissioner, commissioner of agriculture and several seats on the state Supreme Court.
The State Representative seat for District 21 is one to be watched as well as candidates Judy Nichols and Dade Phelan seek the party’s nomination. The winner will face Democratic candidate Gavin Bruney in November.