Wolfe wins Appeals Court race; two open seats on 21st this fall
ALBANY---Judge Beth Wolfe has declared victory in the race for a seat on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
According to complete but unofficial returns from the Secretary of State, Wolfe won 55 percent in the seven-parish district. She will succeed Will Crain, who was elected to the State Supreme Court last year, and will vacate the seat she has held for 15 years in the 21st Judicial District. Wolfe's sole opponent, Judge Rick Swartz, pulled 45 percent.
Turnout across the seven-parish area is estimated at just 18.4 percent.
"I'm very happy with this outcome, and look forward to continuing my service to the people of Louisiana on a higher court," Wolfe said. "I'm thankful to God, my family, and to the voters of this great district. I wish Judge Swartz the best as he continues his service in the 22nd Judicial District."
The 21st JDC district where Wolfe currently serves on the bench provided a block base for the Albany native’s road to victory. Wolfe carried her home parish of Livingston Parish with 72 percent of the vote; St. Helena with 75 percent of the vote, and Tangipahoa with 77 percent of the vote, while squeezing out an 18-vote lead in East Feliciana.
Swartz carried the 22nd and West Feliciana, but at the end of the day, the mostly rural 21st JDC cleared the way to Wolfe’s win.
Once the returns are certified, Wolfe will begin the transition to the Court of Appeals, creating a second vacancy on the 21st Judicial District bench this fall. Chief Judge Bob Morrison is retiring, so his seat and Wolfe’s will both be up for grabs when qualifying begins in less than two weeks.
So far, William Scott Dykes, Colt Fore, and Erika Sledge have all announced their plans to seek a seat on the 21st JDC bench.