|Ernest Durham Wooton|
|Louisiana House of Representatives District 105 (Plaquemines, Jefferson, and St. Charles parishes)|
March 29, 1999 – January 9, 2012
|Preceded by||Benny Rousselle|
|Succeeded by||Chris Leopold|
|Sheriff of Plaquemines Parishn|
|Succeeded by||I.F. "Jiff" Hingle, Jr.|
|Born||October 28, 1941|
|Political party||Democrat-turned-Republican-turned Independent|
|Spouse(s)||Linda Green Wooton|
Jeffrey J. Wooton
|Alma mater||Northwestern State University|
Ernest Durham Wooton (born October 28, 1941) is a former sheriff of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, and a former Independent member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from the 105th district. He resides in Belle Chasse east of New Orleans. He was an unsuccessful Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate election held on November 2, 2010.
Wooton handles public relations for an oil company. He graduated from Port Sulphur High School in Port Sulphur in Plaquemines Parish. He attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, but his House website does not specify whether he received a degree. Wooton and his wife, the former Linda Green (born ca. 1945) have two sons, Jeffrey J. Wooton (born 1966) of Metairie and John Dade Wooton (born 1971) of Belle Chasse.
Wooton served as a Democratic sheriff from 1984 to 1992. He was unseated as sheriff on November 16, 1991, by the Republican I.F. "Jiff" Hingle, Jr., 5,369 votes (54 percent) to 4,654 (46 percent). Hingle defeated Wooton again in a rematch held on October 21, 1995, having led a three-candidate field with 51 percent of the vote.
Wooton was elected as a Democrat to the Louisiana House special election held on March 27, 1999; he defeated fellow Democrat Jerry K. Hodnett, also of Belle Chasse, 52-48 percent; the incumbent, Benny Rousselle, resigned to become Plaquemines Parish president. The district includes Plaquemines Parish and parts of Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Wooton won again as a Democrat in the October 4, 2003, nonpartisan blanket primary for the House, 9,422 (64 percent) over three opponents, a Republican and two "No Party" contenders.
Wooton switched to Republican status in 2005. As a legislator, Wooton has been known for his strong conservative views and outspoken rhetoric. Because of his background in law enforcement, he is chairman of the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice. He also serves on the Homeland Security Committee. Unlike in Washington, D.C., members of the minority party or independents may chair legislative committees in both houses of the Louisiana legislature.
In the primary held on October 20, 2007, Wooton, running as a Republican for the only time in his career, overwhelmed his lone Democratic opponent, Russell Hayden, 9,934 (77 percent) to 3,042 (23 percent).
In 2010, Wooton introduced legislation to force Governor Bobby Jindal to open more records of the state executive branch to the public. Jindal supporters carried the day with their contention that a governor needs a certain amount of executive privilege and must keep some of the materials in question confidential.
U.S. Senate candidacy
After five years as a Republican, Wooton turned Independent on July 9, 2010, to qualify for the U.S. Senate contest. In making the switch, he bypassed the major party primaries. He faced the Democrat U.S. Representative Charlie Melancon of Napoleonville in Assumption Parish and the winner of the Republican nomination, incumbent U.S. Senator David Vitter of Metairie in Jefferson Parish.
Former Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn tried a similar approach in 2006 in a bid for governor but ran third in the general election to incumbent Rick Perry. In his announcement for U.S. senator, Wooton said that he would drive about the state in a motor home and run a low-budget race, meeting voters directly. Wooton finished with only 8,167 votes, or 1 percent of the total cast.
2011 campaign for sheriff
Term-limited in the House, Wooton trailed in a weak third place in his bid as an Independent to regain the sheriff's position in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 22, 2011. Two Republicans entered the November 19, 2011, general election for the Plaquemines sheriff's position. Two other Republicans competed for the right to succeed Wooton in the House.Chris Leopold defeated Harold L. "Rocky" Asevedo, 4,786 (53.4 percent) to 4,183 (46.6 percent).
- "Representative Ernest D. Wooton". house.legis.state.la.us. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
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- "Louisiana general election returns, November 16, 1991". electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Louisiana primary election returns, October 21, 1995". electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Louisiana special election returns, March 27, 1999". electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2012" (PDF). legis.state.la.us. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Louisiana primary election returns, October 4, 2003". electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Louisiana primary election returns, October 20, 2007". electionresults.sos.louisiana. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Jordan Blum, Another effort to open governor's records fails". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, June 10, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Carole Strayhorn". carolestrayhorn.com. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Monroe's Traylor to challenge Vitter". Monroe News Star, July 10, 2010. Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
- "Election returns, November 2, 2010". staticresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
- "Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, November 19, 2011
|Louisiana House of Representatives|
|Louisiana State Representative from District 105 (Plaquemines, Jefferson, and St. Charles parishes)
Ernest Durham Wooton
|Sheriff of Plaquemines Parish
Ernest Durham Wooton
I. F. "Jiff" Hingle, Jr.