Jan 21, 2011 11:29 PM by Maddie Garrett

District 22 Election Will Likely Change State Senate

Saturday is the special election in Iberia and St. Martin Parishes for key State Senate seat, District 22. And it's an important one, because the outcome will mean big changes in Louisiana's State Senate.

The District 22 seat has been held by a Democrat, but after Saturday, it's most likely going to be a Republican.

"That's what makes this race very interesting, that is it could change the balance in the Louisiana State Senate," said KATC Political Analyst, Dr. Pearson Cross.

Right now there are 19 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the State Senate, with 2 open seats. Dr. Cross said the District 22 seat will almost certainly be filled by a Republican, as likely will the District 26 seat, which is up for election in February.

"What we could see is the Senate for the first time since Reconstruction have a Republican majority, so that's pretty special," said Dr. Cross.

There are six candidates on the ballot. Two are Republican State Representatives, Fred Mills and Simone Champagne. Two are Republican newcomers, Armond Schwing and Kenneth Squires. There are also two Independents, David Groner and Ruben LeBlanc.

Dr. Cross said so many candidates probably guarantee a runoff.

"You know if Fred Mills was in Iberia Parish I would say there wouldn't be a run off but he's not. His power base is in St. Martin, so as a result St. Martin has fewer voters so it's widely thought that whoever wins Iberia is going to make into the runoff with Fred Mills," explained Dr. Cross.

Mills has raised more money than any other candidate, more than $175,000.

"Now Fred Mills is still the presumptive favorite over all, but winning in the first round, it's an uphill battle," said Dr. Cross.

Polls open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. If no candidate receives at least 50% of the vote a run-off election will be held on February 19, 2011.



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