SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Louisiana State Sen. Greg Tarver, D-Shreveport, has filed two lawsuits alleging challengers running for his seat are ineligible and should be disqualified.
Tarver’s first suit, filed Monday, claims State Rep. Barbara Norton — a fellow Shreveport Democrat — doesn’t live in Senate District 39 and should be taken off the ballot. Louisiana law requires candidates to live in the district they are running in for at least a year before qualifying.
Norton has represented District 3 in the Louisiana House of Representatives since 2008 and announced her candidacy for the Senate seat after reaching her term limit in the House.
According to Tarver’s lawsuit, Norton is leasing a home in Senate District 38 and doesn’t actually live at the address she listed when qualifying for the District 39 race.
Senator Tarver explained what he did before filing those lawsuits.
"I had an investigator go out and look. And she definitely don't live in the district."
Tarver cited evidence he has for Norton's residency.
“You have to rely on the people who live within the neighborhood. And they have people who called me and say ‘hey, that live on McAlpine, say she don’t live on McAlpine.’”
A court hearing has been scheduled for Friday, August 16 at 9:30 a.m.
Tarver — who has held his senate seat since 2012 and previously served 20 years in the state senate — also filed a similar lawsuit Tuesday against another challenger, Democrat Shante Wells. In that lawsuit, Tarver claims that Wells actually lives in Senate District 37 and used a family member’s address to qualify for the District 39 race.
Wells is a Shreveport attorney who previously ran in a City Court judge race in 2011.
If Tarver’s challenges are successful, he will be the lone Democrat facing Republican challenger Jim Slagle on the ballot in October.
Slagle is welcoming the lawsuits, telling KSLA News 12, “The more candidates dropping out, the better chance I have to get more votes."
KSLA News 12 has reached out to Tarver and Wells for comments and will update this story if any candidate responds.
State Rep. Barbara Norton released a statement Wednesday evening.