More clarifying regarding the 7th Ward marshal’s race is in order: James Hartman is the leading consultant for candidate Charles Deliberto. In an earlier column, I identified Brandon Recotta as strong leader in the campaign, but Hartman confirmed Tuesday that he is the leading consultant.

Back in the day, Hartman was a reporter for the St. Tammany News Banner and, starting in 1996, worked as public information officer for then St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain. He has been doing political consulting work since 2005.

In the Nov. 3 elections, he and his firm are also handling Kevin Pearson’s campaign for Louisiana Public Service Commission District 1 and others.

It was Pearson’s successful campaign for state representative in 2007 that brought attention to Hartman’s skill as a political consultant. One who noticed was underdog Randy Smith who tapped Hartman for his race for Slidell police chief in 2010. With that victory under his belt and consultant Hartman at his side, in 2015 Chief Smith went on to unseat Hartman’s former boss, the 20-year-incumbent Sheriff Strain.

Most recently, Hartman handled Judge Beth Wolfe’s successful run for the state appellate court.

In Tangipahoa Parish, well-known political consultant Nick Gagliano has a full slate of candidates for the fall as well including incumbent City Judge Grace Gasaway, incumbent 7th Ward Marshal Pat Farris and St. Francisville mayoral candidate Susie Tully.

As a friend of Claire Bel, Nick is also helping with her campaign for Amite council.

He worked with two candidate for judge, but as it turned out Erika Sledge in the 21st Judicial District and Sidney Walker in the 20th ran unopposed.

Nick started his career doing graphics but was soon encouraged by the late Duncan Kemp, then district attorney, to go into political consulting. Nick’s first client was Scott Perrilloux, who followed Kemp as DA. That was about a quarter century ago.

“I love politics,” Nick told me Wednesday. “It gets real busy, but it’s a job with a definite end date. After election night, it’s over. We keep a very business and very professional approach.”

He is also the coordinator for Leadership Tangipahoa and is confident about being able to handle any challenges the program may face this year due to the coronavirus.

Motivating voters to actually cast their ballots is usually a big concern for candidates, but Nick noted that will not be the case for Nov. 3.

“Because of the presidential election, we don’t have to worry about getting the vote out,” he said. “That will be a benefit for everybody who is running.”

Different divisions

Speaking of the 21st District, Mrs. Sledge fills the Division C vacancy created with the retirement of Chief Judge Robert Morrison. Her husband, Britain Sledge, serves as an assistant district attorney in Division D where Brian Abels is judge. Because the Sledges are in different divisions, this should not be a problem. But it’s been explained to me – and Mr. Perrilloux confirms – that Judge Sledge will recuse herself should any occasion happen to arise that would have her presiding over a case to which her husband is assigned.

Lil Mirando gets calls at 985-254-7834 and email at

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