Baton Rouge attorney Eboni Johnson-Rose won a three-person race for a seat in the 19th judicial district on November 3, where her father and uncle are already in office.
Johnson-Rose, 42, is now in a runoff election on December 5 with colleague Quintillis Lawrence, 47, after falling one percentage point below the 50% threshold required to avoid a runoff. Saturday is the last day for early voting.
On election night, Johnson-Rose had more than 50% of the vote for a time when they were counted.
“We were a little disappointed that we didn’t maintain that lead all night,” she said in a recent interview.
Johnson-Rose, daughter and niece of 19th JDC judges Ron and Don Johnson, said their campaign would continue to work hard until the runoff.
Twins Don and Ron Johnson and their nine siblings grew up poor with their nine siblings in the poverty-stricken downtown Baton Rouge area.
“Boots on the floor every day,” she said.
Lawrence, an Attorney General for the U.S. Army Reserve and former commissioner of the 19th JDC, garnered 27% of the vote, down from 49% in the Johnson-Roses primary, saying the runoff was a brand new election.
“It’s really a clean deal for both of us, me more than it is for them,” he said.
Johnson-Rose and Lawrence, both Democrats, are fighting for the 19th seat of JDC Division K, which Bonnie Jackson, who is retiring at the end of the year, has held since 1992. Joel Porter, also a Democrat, took third place in the primary voting with 24%.
Johnson-Rose, a lawyer since 2005, has served as a litigator for several government agencies for the past decade.
In a rematch of her runoff election in August, decided by a wafer-thin margin of 27 votes, 19th judge judge Tiffany Foxworth defeated longtime Ba …
The K Division turnout had a 51.3% turnout for the primary, so Johnson-Rose and Lawrence are focused on encouraging more voters to take part in the runoff.
“Our elected officials make the biggest impact on our lives,” said Johnson-Rose, whose campaign works with nonprofit groups and churches to get the ballot for the runoff election.
“Our voters are our jury,” added Lawrence when it comes to judicial elections.
Lawrence, Associate Professor of Law at Southern University Law Center, has been a lawyer for 20 years and is a former assistant public defender of East Baton Rouge Parish and former assistant district attorney for Orleans Parish.
“I have every qualification a judge should have,” he said of his diverse experience. “I am the epitome of qualification. My experience, my qualification, my background can be seen by you (the voters).”
Johnson-Rose’s campaign platform includes alternative sentences to incarceration for nonviolent offenses and advocating a domestic violence court at the 19th JDC.
It is only fitting that the three attorneys fighting for a seat in the 19th Judicial District should be evicted by the Baton Rouge State Court Secretariat …
She also wants to work with colleges and community colleges to steer young people in a different direction.
“We have exorbitant crime rates in our community. Many of them are young people,” said Johnson-Rose.
Lawrence, who was deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2004, wants to help establish a veterans’ tribunal for military veterans who break the law.
Regarding Johnson-Rose’s family ties with the 19th JDC, Lawrence said he was just “running for my merit”.
“Name recognition is an unfortunate part of the choice,” he said.
Johnson-Rose described their campaign as a grassroots effort.
“I’ve always tried to let people know who I am as a person,” she said. “Judges are not partial. They want someone who will be fair and impartial.”