Smith tops Champagne for House seat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / November 24, 1999

HAHNVILLE – Gary L. Smith Jr., in his first bid for public office, won theDistrict 56 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives Saturday.

He defeated Brian Champagne in the runoff race to select Rep. JoelChaisson II’s successor, as Chaisson moves to the state Senate.

Champagne, 38, a farmer and native and resident of Luling, is completing his second term as District Two Parish Councilman. Smith, 27, is a Norcoresident and an attorney.

In the St. Charles Parish portion of District 56, Smith carried the parishwith 7,789 votes, or 56.22 percent of the vote. Champagne earned 6,066votes, or 43.78 percent of the vote. In St. John the Baptist Parish, Smithled with 702 votes to Champagne’s 329 votes. This gave a grand total of8,491 votes for Smith and 6,395 votes for Champagne, a difference of 2,096 votes.

Smith commented after the election, “It really hasn’t sunken in yet.

People have been really good.”Smith said Champagne phoned on election night to congratulate him and both expressed how well the campaign was run.

“It’s been a gentlemen’s race,” Smith observed.

Smith added he expects to have to hit the ground running, as two special sessions are already being contemplated by Gov. Foster.”They’re going to break us in quick,” Smith observed.

In other state races, Suzanne Haik Terrell led Louis “Woody” Jenkins in the Commissioner of Elections race in all the River Parishes.

Terrell won the race statewide.

Terrell earned 10,201 votes in St. Charles, 2,494 votes in St. James and7,735 votes in St. John Parish, while Jenkins picked up 4,882 votes in St.Charles, 1,401 votes in St. James and 4,619 votes in St. John Parish.Statewide, Terrell carried 59 percent of the vote, including 49 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.

Likewise, Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown won in the River Parishes over Allen Boudreaux. In St. Charles Brown picked up 8,707 votes, heearned 2,553 votes in St. James and in St. John Parish he won a total of8,262 votes. Boudreaux earned 6,387 votes in St. Charles, 1,475 votes inSt. James and 4,778 votes in St. John parish.Statewide, Brown led with an unofficial total of 426,027 votes over Boudreaux’s 318,810 votes, a difference of 57.2 to 42.8 percent.

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