I. In Focus This Week
Off to the races
Secretary of state races featured in three states
While much of the nation’s focus is on the 2012 election season, some voters are going to the polls in 2011 and casting ballots including in secretary of state races in three states.
After a close and contested primary against Hilda Legg, Republican Bill Johnson will face Democrat Alison Grimes who defeated incumbent Elaine Walker. Walker had been appointed to the position of secretary of state after former Secretary Trey Grayson left for a position with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
According to his campaign website, Johnson is a proponent of voter ID and he has pledged to work with the state legislature to ensure passage of photo ID legislation.
“I will ensure honest, clean elections,” Johnson says on his site. “Votes from illegal immigrants and other ineligible voters will be kept away from the ballot box.”
Prior to running for secretary of state, Johnson had a career in business. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Master’s from the College of William & Mary, has his pilot’s license and served in the U.S. Navy.
Facing Johnson on the ballot is Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. Grimes is a Lexington-based attorney focusing on business litigation.
On her website, Grimes says her two main election focuses will be on voter turnout and increasing access the voting for veterans, seniors and add protections for victims of domestic violence.
Grimes is a graduate of Rhodes College in Kentucky and received her law degree from the Washington College of Law at the American University in Washington, D.C.
Although potential candidates have until 5 p.m. today, September 8, to file their candidacy for secretary of state in Louisiana, two candidates have already filed their paperwork to run for the Republican nomination in the October 22 primary.
The winning candidate in November’s general election will fill the unexpired term of former Secretary of State Jay Dardenne as well as serve a full four years. Dardenne resigned to become lieutenant governor.
Incumbent Secretary of State Tom Schelder (R) has filed his paperwork to run for an office that he has held since November of 2010 when Dardenne resigned. Schedler was appointed to first assistant secretary of state in December 2007.
According to his campaign website, Schedler will continue to work to streamline elections in Louisiana as well as eliminate the overall number of elections the state conducts in order to save costs.
Before joining the secretary of state’s office, Schelder served three terms in the Louisiana State Senate.
Schedler is a native of New Orleans and a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Facing Schedler on the primary ballot will be Jim Tucker. Tucker currently serves as the Speaker of the House in the Louisiana legislature.
According to a YouTube video on Tucker’s campaign website, Tucker says he is the best candidate to bring integrity to the elections process.
Like Schedler, Tucker is a native of New Orleans and graduated from the University of New Orleans.
At press time, no Democrat had filed to run for the party’s nomination although press reports indicate that Democrat Caroline Fayard may enter the race. Fayard most recently lost to Dardenne in the lieutenant governor’s race.
Although he faced competition in the Republican primary, incumbent Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is alone on the general election ballot. However, there have been some news reports about a possible third-party candidate.
During his tenure as secretary of state, Hosemann has worked extensively to get voter ID legislation approved in Mississippi as well as purging the voter rolls in 29 counties. Although voter ID legislation has not been approved, it will appear on the ballot in the November election. Hosemann sponsored the ballot initiative petition.
Hosemann was first elected to the secretary’s office in 2007. Prior to that he was a partner in a Mississippi law firm focusing on business and taxation. Hosemann is a graduate of Notre Dame and has a law degree from Ole Miss and a Masters of Laws in Taxation from New York University.
As an aside, Hosemann has completed both the Boston and New York marathons.
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