Louisiana down ballot state executive elections, 2014

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Louisiana Down Ballot State Executive Elections

Primary/General Election Date
November 4, 2014

General Election Runoff Date (if necessary):
December 6, 2014

Louisiana State Executive Elections
Down Ballot
Public Services Commissioner

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Two down ballot state executive positions, both on the Public Service Commission, are up for election in the state of Louisiana in 2014. The election will be held on November 4, 2014, with a general election runoff, if necessary, scheduled for December 6.

Louisiana is one of three states to use a blanket primary, or top-two system, which allows all candidates to run and all voters to vote but only moves the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, to the general election. In Louisiana, the runoff general election on December 6, 2014, is only required if no candidate receives 50 percent or more of the primary vote. If the runoff election is not needed, the race is decided with the one election (acting as both the primary and the general election) on November 4, 2014.[1][2][3]

District 1 candidate Forest Wright ran as a Democratic candidate for the District 2 seat in 2012, but is running as a Republican candidate in this election. He joined the race in August 2014 along with Allen "Al" Leone (R) to challenge incumbent Eric Skrmetta (R), who faces ethics concerns over an email with a member of the Gulf State Renewable Energies Industry Association, which lobbies for more lenient rules for the solar energy industry. Two-term incumbent Foster Campbell (D) also faces a challenge from Keith Gates (R) for the District 5 seat.

Control over the five-member board currently rests in the hands of three Republican members, which could be strengthened depending on the results of both races.

Read more about ethics claims and the District 1 race in the race background section.

Public Service Commission

Board composition

Two out of five seats on the Louisiana Public Service Commission are up for election in 2014. Each member of the commission is elected to a six-year term.

The board currently has three Republican members and two Democratic members. Republican control over the board could be strengthened after this race, as Democratic incumbent Foster Campbell faces Republican challenger Keith Gates. Forest Wright is running as a Republican challenger to Eric Skrmetta in District 1, but ran as a Democratic candidate in 2012.

District Party Commissioner First elected Term ends
1 Republican Party Eric Skrmetta 2008 2014
2 Republican Party Scott Angelle 2012 2018
3 Democratic Party Lambert Boissiere, III 2004 2016
4 Republican Party Clyde Holloway 2009 2015
5 Democratic Party Foster Campbell 2002 2014

Candidates

District 1

Republican Party Eric Skrmetta- Incumbent
Republican Party Allen "Al" Leone
Republican Party Forest Wright

District 5

Democratic Party Foster Campbell- Incumbent
Republican Party Keith Gates

District map

Louisiana Public Service Commission map.png

Duties

Article 4, Section 21 B of the Louisiana Constitution outlines the powers and duties of the commission:

  • Regulate all common carriers and public utilities and have such other regulatory authority as provided by law.
  • Adopt and enforce reasonable rules, regulations and procedures necessary for the discharge of its duties, and shall have other powers and perform other duties as provided by law.


Race background

Ethics concerns for Skrmetta

Policypedia
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Policy and Elections
Energy policy is a major issue in Louisiana. Find out more about Louisiana Energy policy.

Eric Skrmetta (R) attracted attention and challengers for his November re-election bid after ethics concerns emerged in early August. The Times-Picayune published a report on August 5, 2014, detailing an email exchange between the commissioner and Andrew B. Ezell from the Gulf State Renewable Energies Industry Association. This exchange reportedly included a request by Skrmetta for the organization's support ahead of the November election in exchange for his vote in support of more lenient metering policies in Louisiana. Ezell sent the request to members of the association on August 2, only four days prior to commission hearings about lifting the state's limit on payments to consumers using solar panels.[4]

Skrmetta denied wrongdoing or an exchange of favors with solar energy firms following the paper's report. He noted in The Times-Picayune that the commission needed to review metering policy due to concerns about the potential bankruptcy of an unnamed solar firm based in the state. He faces scrutiny from challenger Forest Wright (R) and fellow commissioner Foster Campbell (D).

Wright, an energy policy advocate based in New Orleans, cited Skrmetta's email as a motivation for his 2014 campaign. Wright and Skrmetta support lighter regulations on solar installation firms, though Wright is concerned about the alleged quid pro quo involved in Skrmetta's email. He previously sought the District 2 seat on the board in 2012. Campbell, who is seeking re-election to the District 5 seat, has been vocal in opposing changes to existing metering policy and alleges that Skrmetta's behavior was "borderline illegal."[4][5]

Endorsements

Skrmetta earned the endorsements of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the state Republican Party and the Louisiana Sheriff's Organization prior to the November election.[6]

Commission as launching pad

The Louisiana Public Service Commission has served as a stepping stone to higher office in Louisiana. The following chart details past commissioners who eventually won election to the governor's office:[7][8]

Former commissioners who became governors
Name Party Commission service Gubernatorial service
Huey Long Electiondot.png Democratic 1918-1928 1928-1932
Jimmie Davis Electiondot.png Democratic 1942-1944 1944-1948, 1960-1964
John McKeithen Electiondot.png Democratic 1955-1964 1964-1972
Kathleen Blanco Electiondot.png Democratic 1989-1996 2004-2008

Past elections

Margin of victory analysis

The average margin of victory in the past five races for seats on the Public Service Commission was 32.8 percent. The smallest margin of victory was 0.9 percent in 2009, while the remaining four elections had margins of victory over 32 percent. The following chart compares the margin of victory for commission candidates with the margin of victory for candidates who won the most votes for the top race on the ballot:[9]

Margin of victory analysis
Year Commission seat Commission margin of victory (%) Party of winning candidate Top race on ballot Party of winning candidate Margin of victory (%)
2012 2 36.7 Republican Party President of the United States Republican Party 17.2
2010 3 50.4 Democratic Party U.S. Senate Republican Party 18.9
2009 4 0.9 Republican Party - - -
2008 1 19.6 Republican Party President of the United States Republican Party 18.6
2008 5 56.2 Democratic Party President of the United States Republican Party 18.6

Notes:

  • No state executive, congressional or federal elections were held in 2009.
  • In presidential election years, the chart details the margin of victory for the candidate who won the most votes in Louisiana.

2012

See also: Louisiana down ballot state executive elections, 2012
Louisiana Public Service Commission, District 2, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Angelle 57.2% 213,485
     Democratic Forest Wright 20.5% 76,336
     Republican Erich Ponti 11.6% 43,287
     Republican Sarah Holliday 7.6% 28,214
     Non-partisan Greg Gaubert 3.2% 11,758
Total Votes 373,080
Election Results Via: Louisiana Secretary of State

2010

Louisiana Public Service Commission, District 3, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngLambert Boissiere III Incumbent 75.2% 63,253
     Democratic John F. Schwegmann 24.8% 20,821
Total Votes 84,074
Election Results Via: Louisiana Secretary of State

2009

Louisiana Public Service Commission, District 4, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngClyde Holloway 43.5% 32,258
     Democratic "Joe" McPherson 42.6% 31,610
     Republican Gil Pinac 13.9% 10,280
Total Votes 74,148
Election Results Via: Louisiana Secretary of State

2008

Louisiana Public Service Commission, District 1, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngEric Skrmetta 59.8% 222,272
     Non-partisan John F. Schwegmann 40.2% 149,227
Total Votes 371,499
Election Results Via: Louisiana Secretary of State


Louisiana Public Service Commission, District 5, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngFoster Campbell Incumbent 78.1% 120,805
     No party affiliation James "Jim" Crowley 21.9% 33,916
Total Votes 154,721
Election Results Via: Louisiana Secretary of State

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
August 20, 2014 First day for candidate qualification
August 22, 2014 Last day for candidate qualification
November 4, 2014 Primary election
November 17, 2014 Final day for vote certification if no runoff election is required
December 6, 2014 General election (if necessary)
December 18, 2014 Final day for vote certification if runoff election is required

Ballotpedia reports

To learn more about developments in this race, check out the following news articles from Ballotpedia: No news has been posted yet for this state.

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References