By Lou Gehrig Burnett
Caraway: ‘No way’
Judge Jay Caraway of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal will not run for the Louisiana Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Jeff Victory.
The political rumor mill had been prominently mentioning Caraway’s name as a potential candidate once Victory decided not to seek re-election, leaving Caddo District Court Judge Scott Crichton as the only candidate in the race.
Caraway told the Fax-Net: “I am not going to do it. I enjoy my present job on the Court of Appeal, and I plan to stay there. I wish Scott the best of luck.” Caraway is serving his second 10-year term.
The Fax-Net broke the story in its July 30 issue that Victory, who has been the justice from the 2nd District on the seven-member Louisiana Supreme Court for 20 years, would not seek a third term.
While Victory has not publicly announced his retirement, reliable sources close to Victory confirmed that he is hanging up his robe after 33 years of judicial service, having also served on the Caddo District Court and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal.
One other name is being mentioned as a possible candidate – District Court Judge Stephen Beasley of Sabine Parish. He ran against Victory in 2004 and received 39% of the vote.
But the decision for Beasley will not be an easy one. He will have to give up his district court seat because all district court judges are up for re-election at the same time as the Louisiana Supreme Court race.
And, he had a tough race when he ran for re-election in 2008, winning another term on the district court by only 80 votes.
Crichton has served on the Caddo District Court for 23 years. He, too, is giving up his district court seat to run for the state’s high court.
He has said he did so because no one can run for a judicial seat if he or she is 70 years of age or older. Crichton will be just past 60 when he runs in 2014. He would not be able to run for the high court, therefore, if he waited another 10 years.
All sitting judges are eligible to run for the Louisiana Supreme Court, but they must reside in the judicial district. So can district attorneys and assistant district attorneys, and just plain attorneys, if they have practiced law for at least 10 years.
Crichton’s early entry into the race, and the subsequent retirement of Victory, leaves any potential candidate with a lot of ground to make up relative to name recognition and money.
Crichton is receiving strong support from attorneys and political movers and shakers from throughout the judicial district as his campaign moves into high gear. His fundraisers have been attended by overflow crowds and more are scheduled.
Among registered voters in the 2nd District, 58% reside in Caddo and Bossier parishes. It is unlikely any candidate from outside of those two parishes could be competitive against the popular Crichton – and no one in those two parishes now seem inclined to run.
But there is still a long way to go. Qualifying for this judicial seat is not until August 20-22, 2014.