Feature photo: Photos obtained from candidates’ Facebook pages.
The 15th Judicial District Court Division D race to replace Judge Edward D. Rubin will continue in a runoff this December.
District court judges make decisions in civil and criminal cases, primarily focused on felony and property-related matters.
Both Democrat candidates Royale Colbert and Amanda Martin advanced. The election will take place Dec. 5.
Colbert held a majority of the votes with 44% of the 14,646 votes cast in their race. Martin had 41% of the votes. Democratic candidate Dwazendra “Dwa” Smith was eliminated from the race.
Colbert has experience working in the district attorney’s office currently in the felony division. He has prosecuted serious criminal offenses such as rape, murder and armed robbery for the last six years. He is also a retired U.S. Airforce Veteran.
Martin has experience as a private practitioner, public defender and an assistant attorney general. She is a licensed attorney in both Louisiana and Texas and has practiced for more than 30 years, according to www.knowyourvotela.org.
According to Martin, she left her job as an assistant attorney general in the criminal division.
“I am one of the few candidates who had to take a leave without pay to pursue this judicial candidacy,” Martin said.
Colbert said he believes he has a strong chance at winning the election. He feels good about the runoff election and believes they are both very qualified people.
Martin said the runoff will give voters the opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice.
“The hard part is actually getting people to turnout. Nobody is ever interested in a runoff election,” according to Colbert. “Nobody realizes how crucial the court system is. If you can control the court system, you can control everything.”
Colbert said this will be his last time running for public office.
“What we have found out is you don’t always end up with the best candidate, you end up with the most popular candidate or the candidate that can raise the most money,” he said.
According to Martin, she was the last candidate to enter the race.
“Hard work in a three-month period showed how much our supporters believed in and stood with me in getting closer to bringing about a new day for justice,” she said.
The 15th Judicial District courts cover Acadia, Lafayette, and Vermilion parishes. Division D’s district, being one of the two majority Black judge seats, serves north Lafayette, Scott and Carencro.
Both candidates are running for District 1 where Democrats make up 56% of registered voters, Republicans at 16%, and other party or independent voters make up 28%.
Early voting for runoff elections in Lafayette starts Nov. 20-28. The runoff election official day is Dec. 5.