WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Local News Local News en-us Copyright 2014, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Sat, 23 Aug 2014 19:08:28 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 State details events leading up to 5-year-old's murder http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-details-events-leading-up-to-5-year-old-s-murder/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-details-events-leading-up-to-5-year-old-s-murder/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 7:54:22 PM Trey Schmaltz State details events leading up to 5-year-old's murder

BATON ROUGE- The state released details of its preliminary investigation in the death of a five-year-old who was allegedly killed by his father earlier in the week.

WBRZ's Investigative Unit obtained the information late Friday.

State case workers said Jay'V'une Bergin was passed from family member to family member for some 2 1/2 years. " Jay'v'une's mother, father and maternal relatives repeatedly shifted custody amongst themselves," the report outlined.

According to the state, his grandfather brought him to the state Department of Child and Family Services in May and said he could no longer take care of him. The state said the law required social workers to alert his biological father, Vernell Day, about the situaton. Day took custody of the child directly from the grandfather, the state reported.

"Following the voluntary transfer of custody, DCFS provided intensive family services as a support to the family, including weekly home visits, family counseling, child speech assessment and therapy, transportation and assistance with school enrollment," the report acknowledged.

Tuesday, Bergin was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries. Police said the child had been beaten. Thursday, he died from his injuries and Day was charged with murder.

The state's report suggests a different story from the one Jay'V'une's grandmother repeatedly told WBRZ producers and reporters. Kate Bergin said her family warned the state about placing Jay'V'une and his sister in Day's care. Bergin argued this week that she was left out of the process and was not allowed to see Jay'V'une when he was on a ventilator at an area hospital.

But, numerous times Bergin refused to share why her household family was not taking care of Jay'V'une and his sister, who was last seen leaving a custody hearing following Day's arrest with state case workers. The state report said nothing about Bergin's alleged warnings.

The state added, DCFS is working with police in the ongoing investigation.
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Baton Rouge, New Orleans gain nonfarm jobs http://www.wbrz.com/news/baton-rouge-new-orleans-gain-nonfarm-jobs/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/baton-rouge-new-orleans-gain-nonfarm-jobs/ Local News Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:45:01 AM Baton Rouge, New Orleans gain nonfarm jobs

BATON ROUGE, La. - State labor officials say the Baton Rouge and New Orleans metro areas each gained 12,600 nonfarm jobs over the year ended July 31.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission reported Friday that seasonally adjusted numbers show that was a 3.3 percent increase to a new total of 397,200 jobs in the Baton Rouge area. New Orleans had a 2.3 percent increase to boost its job total to 557,300.

The commission says big job gains were experienced at both goods-producing businesses and those that provide services in Baton Rouge, while the service-providing sector was responsible for most of the increase in New Orleans.

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Three vying for chief of officer-less police department http://www.wbrz.com/news/three-vying-for-chief-of-officer-less-police-department/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/three-vying-for-chief-of-officer-less-police-department/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 7:01:36 PM Trey Schmaltz Three vying for chief of officer-less police department

SORRENTO - Three people have qualified to run for a job that, in its current form, has no responsibilities.

Fern Barnett, Jerry LeBlanc, and "C.J." Martin are running for police chief in this small Ascension Parish town. Earlier this summer, the town council cut the department's budget to nothing and fired the interim chief.

The department has been mired in controversy. The former chief resigned amid a sandal that involved lying to federal investigators about sexual acts he had performed on him when detaining a woman. The small force worried its insurance provider so much, it was dropped because the risks out-weighed its payments.

In addition to being asked to vote on a police chief, voters will also be asked to shutter the department permanently. Currently, the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office patrols the town.
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Sheriff's office interviewing persons of interest in teen's murder http://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-s-office-interviewing-persons-of-interest-in-teen-s-murder/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/sheriff-s-office-interviewing-persons-of-interest-in-teen-s-murder/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 7:50:23 PM Brittany Weiss Sheriff's office interviewing persons of interest in teen's murder

DONALDSONVILLE - The sheriff's office says they've been interviewing persons of interest and have not ruled out any of the people interviewed related to the murder of a teenager last week.

"My son did not deserve what happened to him, he was only 15 years old," said the victim, Brandon Augusta's teary-eyed mother, Katrina Augusta.

Family, friends and those who never met Augusta gathered Friday evening for a candlelight prayer vigil in memory of teen.

Augusta's body was found behind a levee.  The 15-year-old was badly beaten.

Friends described him as humble, intelligent, and a boy who kept to himself.

"We're such a close-knit community," said Cardella Ireland. "We're just here to support the family with unity, love and prayers and offer our condolences from everyone here, and we pray for the family."

As deputies talk to those who may know something, Augusta is waiting for closure and any information that leads to answers about her son's untimely death. She said her prayers are getting her through this tough time.

"It's all for a reason," she said. "God wanted to step in this community. My solid foundation is God, and the only way that I'm making it [is] through God."

Augusta was a student at Donaldsonville High School. He was last seen getting into a car on August 10th. Anyone with information should call the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office at 225-621-INFO (4636) or text 847411 to an anonymous tip line.

Services are Saturday, August 23 at 9 a.m. at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 2129 Hwy. 1 South, Donaldsonville. His burial is at Mt. Triumph Baptist Church Cemetery, Donaldsonville.

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EBRSO: Teacher confessed to sex with student http://www.wbrz.com/news/ebrso-teacher-confessed-to-sex-with-student/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ebrso-teacher-confessed-to-sex-with-student/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 9:23:45 AM Russell Jones EBRSO: Teacher confessed to sex with student

BATON ROUGE - Sheriff's deputies said a teacher in East Baton Rouge Parish confessed to investigators she'd had sex and with an underage student and shared naked photos through text messages.

Deputies booked Ashley Dowden, 41, with indecent behavior and carnal knowledge of a juvenile, as well as computer aided solicitation of a juvenile.

Investigators said the 16-year-old student's parents contacted the sheriff's office after finding sexually explicit texts and nude photos on his phone. Deputies said the parents checked the number the texts came from and found that it belonged to Dowden, a teacher at the boy's school. Deputies said their son also admitted to investigators he had an inappropriate relationship with his teacher.

On Thursday deputies questioned Dowden, who investigators said agreed to talk with them without an attorney present. At first she denied having sex with the student, but deputies said she later admitted to the relationship and exchange of explicit texts.

Deputies told News 2 that Dowden, an English teacher at Riverdale Christian Academy, also confessed that they had sex on school property. The school issued a statement saying Dowden was placed on indefinite administrative leave when they learned of her arrest. The school said they do extensive background checks on all their teachers, and Dowden's record was clean when she was hired.

Deputies arrested Dowden and booked her into the parish jail.


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DHH: 2 new cases of chikungunya in La. http://www.wbrz.com/news/dhh-2-new-cases-of-chikungunya-in-la-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/dhh-2-new-cases-of-chikungunya-in-la-/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 6:43:24 PM Caroline McDougall DHH: 2 new cases of chikungunya in La.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - State health officials report two new cases of chikungunya fever but none of dengue fever in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, in its weekly Arbovirus Surveillance Summary released Friday, said so far there have been 10 cases of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne illness traditionally found in Africa and Asia and only one of dengue fever.

DHH says all of the infections took place while the individuals were outside of the United States.

The department says the new cases were reported in Livingston and Natchitoches parishes.

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Deputies arrest cable guy accused of sex with juvenile http://www.wbrz.com/news/deputies-arrest-cable-guy-accused-of-sex-with-juvenile/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/deputies-arrest-cable-guy-accused-of-sex-with-juvenile/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 2:07:40 PM Brock Sues Deputies arrest cable guy accused of sex with juvenile

BATON ROUGE - Sheriff's deputies in East Baton Rouge said they arrested a cable contract worker on Friday who is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old while on the job in June.

Christopher Hilton, 37 of Kentwood was booked into the parish jail on a carnal knowledge of a juvenile charge on Aug. 22.

Hilton was employed by Advantage Cable Services, a company that does contract work for Cox Communications, when the incident happened.

The juvenile told deputies that the man had conversations of a "sexual nature" while he was at the girl's home to remove equipment on June 23rd. The girl's parents were not home at the time.

The arrest report goes on to say Hilton and the 14-year-old eventually moved to the girl's bedroom where they had intercourse.

The girl informed deputies she and the 37-year-old man exchanged text messages, sometimes sexually explicit in nature, in the days after the incident, according to deputies.

Hilton was wanted by deputies after he told investigators that he would not show up for an interview concerning the girl's accusations.

Cox Communications released a statement saying the company was "shocked" and "upset" concerning the incident and will provide full cooperation with authorities. They say they maintain a policy of strict background checks for Cox Communications and contractor technicians. According to Cox, Hilton passed mandatory criminal history and sex offender registry data searches prior to his hire.

Advantage Cable Services, the contractor who directly employed the man, said he stopped coming to work before deputies came to his job to look for him.


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Mother arrested in shooting had prior charges http://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-arrested-in-shooting-had-prior-charges/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-arrested-in-shooting-had-prior-charges/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:48:51 PM Jessica LeBlanc Mother arrested in shooting had prior charges

PORT ALLEN - Port Allen police may be a little closer to finding out what happened at a shooting at a local basketball court.

Edith Tillman, 43, and her son, Terrence Tillman, 17, were arrested in connection to the shooting.

Edith Tillman has had at least two other arrests in the past three years. In 2013, she was charged with "disturbing the peace," and in 2012 with "disturbance."

In this incident, both she and her son were charged with principal to attempted second-degree murder.

All of the violence has residents who live in the area shocked.

They say all of the violence that's been happening is unusual and they think it's up to parents to raise their children to be responsible citizens in order for there to be change.

"Everybody knows each other. Real, real friendly. I mean, wave at each other. Things like that. But I mean, as far as this kind of stuff here, it's not adults doing it. It's kids that ought to be working... ought to have a job," said Ned Phillippe, who lives nearby.

But Edith Tillman's mother says her daughter is innocent and didn't do anything wrong.

Etta Tillman told News 2 that the Port Allen police did not do their jobs correctly because her daughter was not involved in the shooting.

"Edith might get there and fuss with people about her children. But far as going get somebody to shoot somebody or to kill somebody? No, she wouldn't do that," said Tillman.

Bond hasn't been set for either Edith or Terrence Tillman.

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LSUPD looking for man in car burglary http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsupd-looking-for-man-in-car-burglary/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/lsupd-looking-for-man-in-car-burglary/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 3:18:35 PM Caroline McDougall LSUPD looking for man in car burglary

BATON ROUGE - LSU Police are looking for man responsible for a vehicle burglary on campus.

Police said someone broke into the victim's vehicle and took a credit card on Aug. 20.

Investigators said the card was later used at an off-campus business.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the man should contact LSUPD immediately.


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DHH: 10 new West Nile cases in state http://www.wbrz.com/news/dhh-10-new-west-nile-cases-in-state/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/dhh-10-new-west-nile-cases-in-state/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 2:38:49 PM Caroline McDougall DHH: 10 new West Nile cases in state

BATON ROUGE - State health officials added another 10 confirmed cases of West Nile virus this week, including seven new cases of the neuroinvasive disease type in East Baton Rouge, Ouachita and Ascension parishes.

The new numbers bring the total number of Louisiana cases this year to 52 with the other three reported cases this week of the asymptomatic variety in Caddo and Pointe Coupee parishes.

About 90 percent of all cases are symptomless, but the neuroinvasive disease type is accompanied by serious, potentially life-threatening symptoms.

"Mosquitoes are out and biting and spreading West Nile virus," said DHH State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard. "Protecting yourself is very simple and it could spare you from getting this disease."

For a more detailed look at DHH reports on West Nile in Louisiana or to get tips on prevention, visit their Fight The Bite website.


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Coroner releases more details in child's death http://www.wbrz.com/news/coroner-releases-more-details-in-child-s-death/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/coroner-releases-more-details-in-child-s-death/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:51:58 AM Russell Jones Coroner releases more details in child's death

BATON ROUGE - Coroner Beau Clark released more information Friday from an autopsy of a 5-year-old who died from child abuse.

Clark said the preliminary cause of death for Jay'v'une Bergin was blunt force injuries to his head, which had multiple bruises on his face and neck as well as bleeding into his brain. Clark said Bergin was hit so hard his neck vertebrae were also dislocated and separated.

"These kinds of injuries can happen one of two ways," Clark said, "from either something slamming into the head or the head being slammed into something solid."

Bergin was taken to the hospital Tuesday morning after authorities said his father, 36-year-old Vernell Day, called 911 and told them the boy fell off a bed. Investigators later arrested him, and after Bergin died Thursday they upgraded charges against Day to murder.

Clark said Friday that Bergin's injuries showed he suffered multiple traumas to his head, which was inconsistent with Day's story. He said Bergin also had still-healing bruises and deep muscle bleeding on his chest and abdomen, as well as blunt force injuries to his arms and legs.

Day is being held on charges of first degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Bergin's grandmother blamed DCFS for his death, saying the system gave custody of him to Day even though they knew he was a felon.


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Guard members coming home this weekend http://www.wbrz.com/news/guard-members-coming-home-this-weekend/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/guard-members-coming-home-this-weekend/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 2:10:15 PM Caroline McDougall Guard members coming home this weekend

BATON ROUGE - The La. National Guard will be welcoming home Saturday a group of their own after their deployment overseas.

Soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard's 927th Engineer Company and 769th Engineer Battalion will be welcomed home by family, friends and soldiers after a year in Afghanistan.

The soldiers will also be honored for their help with disaster relief during Hurricane Issac and the BP oil spill in 2011.

The ceremony will be held Saturday around 12:30 at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.


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Woman accused of burning child in bath http://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-accused-of-burning-child-in-bath/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/woman-accused-of-burning-child-in-bath/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 1:43:50 PM Caroline McDougall Woman accused of burning child in bath

BATON ROUGE - Police arrested a woman after they said she badly scalded a child in her care.

Investigators charges Ebony Allen, 28, with cruelty to juveniles after her arrest Thursday.

Police said Allen was caring for the child and called 911 to report they'd been burned or had an allergic reaction to something. Investigators said Allen told them the chid's mother told her to bathe them using dish soap, and when she did the child's skin became red and started peeling.

EMS took the child to the hospital, and investigators said they had second and third-degree burns likely caused by hot water. 

Officers booked Allen into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail.

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Federal lawsuit filed against new La. abortion law http://www.wbrz.com/news/federal-lawsuit-filed-against-new-la-abortion-law/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/federal-lawsuit-filed-against-new-la-abortion-law/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:31:45 PM Melinda Deslatte Federal lawsuit filed against new La. abortion law

BATON ROUGE- An abortion rights organization has filed the first court challenge to a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed its lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge on behalf of abortion clinics in Shreveport, Bossier City and Metairie and two doctors.

It seeks an immediate injunction against the law, which takes effect Sept. 1.

Under the law, abortion doctors must be able to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure is performed. The hospital must provide obstetrical or gynecological services.

The lawsuit says doctors haven't had enough time to obtain the privileges and the law likely would force Louisiana's five abortion clinics to close.

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BR Zoo's tiger cubs get their first check-up http://www.wbrz.com/news/br-zoo-s-tiger-cubs-get-their-first-check-up/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/br-zoo-s-tiger-cubs-get-their-first-check-up/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 9:44:13 AM Brock Sues BR Zoo's tiger cubs get their first check-up

BATON ROUGE - The Baton Rouge Zoo's newest additions, two female tiger cubs born on July 29, received their first veterinary check-up and were issued a clean bill of health earlier this week.

During the check-up, the yet to be named cubs weighed in at a healthy four pounds and 3.2 pounds. They have nearly doubled in size since their birth only three weeks ago.

At three weeks old, the cubs' eyes are now open, although their eyesight will remain cloudy for the next couple of weeks as they continue to grow. Both cubs are now able to stand on all four paws and their adorable first attempts at walking can be glimpsed on the zoo website's Tiger Cam.

BREC plans to ask for the public's help in the coming weeks to come up with names for the duo of soon-to-be big cats. Until then, the baby tigers will remain in the den with their mother for several more weeks as they continue to gain strength and independence.

BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo Tiger Cam, which streams the cubs den activity in real time, has been a popular web destination for the admiring public since it went live upon the much anticipated arrival of the cubs. Since the stream's launch, it has been viewed for more than 8,400 hours in 30,000 online viewing sessions with viewers from more than 40 countries.

To access the Tiger Cam, visit www.brzoo.org/tigercam.


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EBR Head Start program to hold Aug. 29 job fair http://www.wbrz.com/news/ebr-head-start-program-to-hold-aug-29-job-fair/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ebr-head-start-program-to-hold-aug-29-job-fair/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 9:09:30 AM Brock Sues EBR Head Start program to hold Aug. 29 job fair

BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Head Start Program and EmployBR will host a job fair to fill immediate openings for a number of positions the program urgently needs.

The job fair will be held on Friday, Aug. 29 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the EmployBR Division of Human Development and Services and Head Start Administrative Building at 4523 Plank Road.

Immediate openings for positions including Head Start Teachers, Teacher Aides, Family Advocates and Content Area Specialists are available to qualified candidates for the 2014-15 school year.

Division of Human Development and Services Director Paula Merrick Roddy said the Head Start Program is experiencing historic changes in preschool educational opportunities.

Interested job seekers are advised to come to the job fair dressed for success, and are encouraged to bring resumes and other qualification documents in hard copy format. Copying and printing facilities will be provided for those in need at EmployBR's Plank Road office before and during the event.

For more information about EmployBR, visit the LAWorks website or one of their two locations at 4523 Plank Road and 1991 Wooddale Blvd.

Additional information about the EBR Division of Human Development and Services and the Head Start Program, please visit their website at brgov.com/dept/headstart.


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Fired worker accused of stealing fuel http://www.wbrz.com/news/fired-worker-accused-of-stealing-fuel/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/fired-worker-accused-of-stealing-fuel/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 9:09:25 AM Russell Jones Fired worker accused of stealing fuel

GONZALES - Sheriff's deputies arrested an Ascension Parish man after they said he stole nearly $5,000 worth of fuel using his former employer's gas card.

Deputies charged Joseph Albert, 44, with 12 felony counts of unauthorized use of an access card.

Investigators said on Aug. 7 Albert's former employer told deputies their company credit card had been used without authorization. Detectives said they learned Albert, who had been fired in July, had been using the fuel card for personal use. Investigators said he used the card twelve times and racked up $4,980.33 in expenses, and also used the card in other parishes.

Deputies arrested Albert on Aug. 19 and booked him into the parish jail. He was released on a $30,000 bond.

Detectives said their investigation is continuing, and more charges may follow.


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Exchange guns for gas, no questions asked http://www.wbrz.com/news/exchange-guns-for-gas-no-questions-asked/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/exchange-guns-for-gas-no-questions-asked/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 7:16:06 AM Hunter Robinson Exchange guns for gas, no questions asked

BATON ROUGE - You can help East Baton Rouge Parish empty guns from the street while filling up your gas tank.

At "Gas for Guns", you can exchange your firearms for gas credits with no questions asked. It's part of the BRAVE Program's efforts to make the city safer. You can get between $50 and $300 back depending on whether you donate a handgun or assault rifle. Higher-caliber weapons will fetch you more gas because those weapons are most dangerous and it's vital authorities remove them from the hands criminals.

The exchange will be held Saturday at the Living Faith Christian Center from 10:00 a.m. - Noon. There are specific instructions for how to carry the gun for the sight. Call (225) 239-7835.

District Attorney Hillar Moore sat down with John Pastorek on 2une In this morning to give you more information about "Gas for Guns" and discuss some of the recent violence across the Baton Rouge area.


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Vigil tonight for murdered Donaldsonville teen http://www.wbrz.com/news/vigil-tonight-for-murdered-donaldsonville-teen/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/vigil-tonight-for-murdered-donaldsonville-teen/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 5:49:18 AM Hunter Robinson Vigil tonight for murdered Donaldsonville teen

DONALDSONVILLE - Family and friends of a murdered Ascension Parish teen will hold a candlelight prayer vigil in his memory tonight in Donaldsonville.

The body of Brandon Augusta, 15, was found behind a levee last week. His body was beaten and decomposed so badly, investigators had to use dental records to identify him.

Augusta was last seen getting into a car on August 10th. Anyone with information should call the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office at 225-621-INFO (4636) or text 847411 to their anonymous tip line.

The candlelight prayer vigil for Augusta begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Louisiana Square in Donaldsonville.

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Final day for election qualifying http://www.wbrz.com/news/final-day-for-election-qualifying/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/final-day-for-election-qualifying/ Local News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 5:27:46 AM Hunter Robinson Final day for election qualifying

BATON ROUGE - Today is the final day for candidates to qualify to run for political office in Louisiana in November 4th elections. There has been a steady flow at the Secretary of State's Office the past two days.

On Thursday, Zach Dasher joined the 5th Congressional District race against incumbent Vance McAllister. Dasher is the nephew of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson. McAllister qualified as soon as doors opened Friday morning, despite pressure for him to resign earlier this year after he was caught kissing one of his staffers.

As of the end of qualifying Thursday, five candidates were running for that spot.

Another hotly contested race is for the 6th Congressional District. That field already features seven Republicans, including Dan Claitor and Paul Dietzel. A Libertarian and two Democrats, including former governor Edwin Edwards are also vying for the seat.

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and her challenger, GOP Representative Bill Cassidy, both qualified on Wednesday. Landrieu has held the office for 18 years, and many pundits believe this race could decide party control of the U.S. Senate. Tea Party favorite Rob Maness is also expected to qualify.

All qualifying is for the November 4th elections. We'll update you with more

To see a full list of candidates who qualified, visit the Secretary of State's website.


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