BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Five candidates for state treasurer got their name on the ballot during the first day of qualifying.
Three Republicans, a Libertarian, and a Democrat officially entered the race Wednesday, which was called after long-time treasurer John Kennedy stepped down to take up his newly won seat in the U.S. Senate.
Speaking to reporters, many of the candidates touted how they would fill the "watchdog" role Kennedy created during his time as the treasurer, while giving few specifics on how they would handle the actual job requirements of the office.
"We have a money problem in this state. We have a priority problem in the state," said former state Rep. John Schroder, who indicated he would look out for wasteful state spending like Kennedy did.
State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, pointed to his time in the state legislature. "I do have a working knowledge of the budget, and I have a relation with the members," said Riser.
Angele Davis, who worked as commissioner of administration during the first years of the Jindal administration, echoed a similar theme. "I will shed light and transparency on how taxpayer dollars are being spent," Davis said.
The sole Democrat, New Orleans lawyer, Derrick Edwards, also entered the budget and tax fray while explaining why he was running. "We pay the highest sales tax in the nation with little to show for it," said Edwards.
However, aside from providing perhaps a bigger megaphone, the treasurer's office has little to do with the budget itself. The legislature creates the state's spending plan. The treasurer's job, instead, is largely managing money and state investments. However, candidates offered few details on how they would do just that.
"My work experience and my criteria that I have, I'll bring that with me," said Riser.
"I am the most qualified candidate. I'm the only candidate with a bachelor and masters in accounting," said Edwards.
"With my qualifications and experience, I plan to bring solutions to the table," said Davis.
"It's just adding and subtracting. It's not that difficult," said Schroder.
Joseph Little, a Libertarian from Ponchatoula, also qualified for the election.
State Rep. Julie Stokes had also been campaigning for the office, but backed out last week after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Candidates from both parties honored the Kenner Republican by wearing pink Wednesday and posting pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #FightLikeJulie.
In addition to the treasurer race, candidates qualified for several other races. That includes a seat on the Public Service Commission. Three Republicans put their name on the ballot Wednesday for that race: Damon Baldone from Houma, Craig Green from Baton Rouge, and Lenar Whitney from Houma.
Two more candidates entered the race for treasurer on Friday, July 14. They are "Ron" Ceasar, and Independent from Opelousas and Terry Hughes, a Republican from Lafayette. This brings the grand total to seven candidates.
The election is on October 14. The runoff, if needed, is slated for November 18.