SOS Schedler resigns; Turkey Creek Mayor toys with running
After previously announcing his plans not to seek reelection next year for Louisiana Secretary of State, Tom Schedler tendered his resignation Tuesday that is effective next week on May 8.
In the wake of Schedler’s decision, one Evangeline Parish politician is now toying with the idea of running for the state-wide position herself.
The News Star reported on Tuesday, that Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Cloud said she is “strongly considering” running for the office. When contacted by the Ville Platte Gazette Tuesday afternoon, Cloud said, “There is about a 90 percent chance that I will run.”
If elected, as S.O.S., Cloud would be the chief election officer of the state, the official state archivist and the keeper of the great seal of the state of Louisiana.
It is also the S.O.S.’s responsibility to investigate alleged voter fraud, which is an area where Cloud has experience since contesting the results of the Turkey Creek mayor’s race in 2014.
Cloud filed a lawsuit following the 2014 election where her opponent, Bert Campbell, beat Cloud by a mere four votes. Cloud had alleged that supporters of Campbell had paid four mentally impaired individuals in exchange for their promise to vote for Campbell.
The Turkey Creek Mayor’s suit was dismissed by the lower courts twice before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the four votes struck and a new election be held. Along with winning her suit, Cloud also went on to defeat her opponent in the second election to begin her second term as mayor.
Others who have mentioned running for the position of S.O.S. are Senator Gerald Long (R), Senator Gary Smith (D), Senator Mike Walsworth (R), Representative Paul Hollis (R), and Rep. Julie Stokes (R).
Until a special election can be held in November, First Assistant Kyle Ardoin will serve in the position. The election will be on the same ballot as the congressional and municipal elections.
Tuesday’s events were the result of other state officials calling for Schedler’s immediate resignation amid sexual harassment claims from a former employee Dawn Ross.
According to The Advocate, Schedler sent Ross Emails, Christmas cards, birthday greetings, and other notes that were sexually suggestive in nature and “retaliated when she rebuffed his repeated advances.”
“It is now time for me to make a difficult choice in the best interest of my family, my staff, and the citizens of this state,” Schedler said in his letter of resignation to Governor John Bel Edwards. “Effective Tuesday, May 8, 2018, I will resign as Louisiana Secretary of State. I leave the office knowing it is in the capable hands of my First Assistant, Kyle Ardoin, who knows the organization intimately and can, with my departure, focus on the incredibly important short-term goals of selecting new voting equipment as well as perfecting the Mid-Term Congressional Elections this fall without distraction.”
He concluded, “However, I leave office with a heavy heart knowing I have disappointed the people in my life who care for me the most. But, I also have experienced from them the miraculous power of forgiveness and grace during the twilight of my career, and, for that, I am grateful. I have been incredibly frustrated with the tabloid approach to an incredibly serious allegation and the necessity of following the advice of counsel to not try this publicly. I trust the judicial process will fairly consider all the facts when they can be properly presented in due time.
I take away from this experience many precious memories that will sustain me, and only ask that the office continue their focus on customer service and transparency so that legacy remains in place for many years to come.”