Integrity is key issue in Louisiana secretary of state race

Candidates vying to be Louisiana secretary of state said Monday they’re running to restore confidence in an office whose last elected leader resigned amid sexual harassment allegations and whose voting machine replacement work was criticized as botched.

State Rep. Julie Stokes, a Kenner Republican, said she wants to “remove scandal from the office.” Renee Fontenot Free, a Baton Rouge Democrat and former top aide to two secretaries of state, said “trust in that office has been compromised.” State Rep. Rick Edmonds, a Baton Rouge Republican, has made integrity a centerpiece of his campaign.

They were among five candidates who squared off at a candidate forum, joined by interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Cloud, both Republicans. Nine contenders are on the ballot in the Nov. 6 special election that was called after Republican Tom Schedler resigned, accused of sexually harassing an employee…


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