Incumbents re-elected in local runoffs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2003

By LEONARD GRAY-Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Two of the River Parishes current parish presidents along with an incumbant sheriff were re-elected in Saturday’s runoff election that also saw the first African American win as Assessor of St. John Parish.

St. John Parish President Nickie Monica, St. Charles Parish President Albert Laque and St. John Parish Sheriff Wayne L. Jones were successful in their re-election campaigns. Whitney Joseph Jr. made history with his election as assessor.

In St. John Parish, one-term incumbent Nickie Monica defeated District Five Councilman Jobe Boucvalt in the runoff, 55.6 to 44.4 percent. Monica received 9,697 to Boucvalt’s 7,719 votes, which is a difference of 1,978 votes. Monica took 24 of the parish’s 35 precincts, leaving 11 for his challenger. Monica also led 1,082 to 677 in the absentee vote.

Monica thanked the voters of St. John Parish “for allowing me to serve the past four years and for the vote of confidence for the next four years.”

Also in St. John, two-term incumbent sheriff Wayne L. Jones received 56.6 to challenger Shannon Penn’s 43.4 percent. Jones received 9,940 votes to Penn’s 7,626 votes, a difference of 2,314 votes.

“I’m very proud of my campaign and how we ran it,” Jones said. I’m humbled by the community’s support.”

Jones picked up 28 of the parish’s 35 precincts while Penn won seven. Jones also almost doubled Penn’s absentee vote, 1125 to 637.

In another closely-watched parishwide race, St. John Parish Deputy Assessor Whitney Joseph, Jr. defeated Councilman-at-Large Division B Duaine Duffy.

Joseph won 33 of the parish’s 35 precincts and nearly doubled Duffy’s results in the absentee vote, 1,149 to 597.

Parish Council runoff results include Lester Rainey Jr. defeating Haston Lewis in District One, 1,469 to 1,345 votes, a difference of 124 votes; Allen St. Pierre defeating Mark Entremont in District Two, 1,694 to 1,101, a difference of 593 votes; newcomer Jaclyn Hotard defeating newcomer Melvin Powell in District Four, 1,087 to 1,062, a difference of 25 votes; and in District Six, newcomer Ronnie Smith defeating newcomer Emile Bergeron, 878 to 814 votes, a difference of 64 votes.

St. John’s first-primary winners include Clerk of Court Eliana Defrancesch, Councilman at Large Division A Cleveland Farlough, Councilman at Large Division B Joel McTopy, District Four Councilman Sean Roussel and District Seven Councilman Steve Lee.

St. John School Board runoff results are Russell Jack Jr. defeating Robert Carl Sylvain in District One, 1,057 to 987, a difference of 70 votes; Dowie Gendron defeating Daniel Becnel Jr. in District Five, 724 to 668, a difference of 56 votes; Phillip Johnson defeating Bertis Tamplain in District Seven, 598 to 588, a difference of 10 votes; and Russ Wise defeating Chris Ory in District Eight, 1,064 to 827, a difference of 237 votes.

Earlier, Elexis Henderson was elected in District Two and Matt Ory in District 10.

In St. Charles Parish, Parish President Albert Laque was re-elected with 54 percent of the 18,630 votes cast in that race, besting challenger Councilwoman Darnell “Dee” Abadie.

Laque received 10,058 votes to Abadie’s 8,572 votes, a margin of 1,486 votes. The edge in absentee balloting was even closer; with 1,134 ballots received, Laque edged Abadie 580 to 554, a margin of 26 votes.

“I was pretty confident all along,” Laque said, “but I was concerned about the dirt being put out and how much people might believe it.”

He added, “Really, my staff and family worked their hineys off. I couldn’t begin to thank everyone.”

Laque is a political veteran in St. Charles Parish, first elected to public office in 1962, serving two terms as a police juror before become parish administrator in 1968. He served in that capacity until 1976. He ran unsuccessfully for parish president in 1983, and worked with the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office as commander of administration under Sheriff Johnny Marino until 1988.

Laque then served as Parish President in 1988 to 1992, lost a re-election bid and returned to the position in 1999.

Abadie was appointed in April 1999 to fill the unexpired term of Ron Phillips in District Three, and was unchallenged for election that fall.

Abadie carried 17 precincts, including all of District Three, her home base, and most of District Six, the Norco/Montz area. However, Laque carried the remainder of the parish’s 45 precints, a total of 28 in all, including sweeps in Districts Two (Luling), Four (Paradis/Des Allemands) and Seven (Mimosa/Willowdale).

In the parish council races, G. “Ram” Ramchandran won in District Three, besting Richard LeSage 54-45.8 percent, a margin of 1,728 to 1,465 votes. Ramchandran is completing his second consecutive term as Councilman-at-Large, Division A.

In District Four, political newcomer Derryl Wayne Walls bested Danny Somme 64.5 to 35.5 percent, a margin of 1,459 to 804 votes. Somme served in that position from 1988 to 1996.

Finally, incumbent District Five Councilwoman April Black was re-elected, besting challenger Freddie “Jamie” Coleman, 62.2 to 37.8 percent, a margin of 1,393 to 846 votes.

First-primary winners include Sheriff Greg C. Champagne (elected to his third term), Assessor Clyde “Rock” Gisclair (elected to his ninth term), Councilman at Large Division A Lance Marino (moving from the District Six council seat), Councilman at Large Division B Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux (re-elected), District One Councilman Desmond Hilaire (re-elected), District Two Councilman Brian Fabre (re-elected) and District Six Councilman Richard “Dickie” Duhe (served 1992-2000 in same position).

In St. James Parish, only the Parish Council District Five race remained to be settled. In that race, challenger Charles “I-Spy” Ketchens bested one-term incumbent James Mitchell in that race, 722 to 648 votes.

First-primary winners included Sheriff Willy J. Martin Jr. (re-elected to his fourth term), Assessor Glenn Waguespack (re-elected to his fourth term), Councilman District One Elwyn Bocz (re-elected to his fourth term), Councilman District Two Timothy P. “Timmy” Roussel (re-elected to his fourth term), Councilman District Three Wilson F. Malbrough Jr. (re-elected to his second term), Councilman District Four Ralph A. Patin Jr. (re-elected to his fourth term), Councilman District Six Elton Aubert (re-elected to his fourth term) and Councilman District Seven Jimmy Brazan (re-elected to his third term).

Parish President Dale Hymel Jr. was unopposed for his fourth term.

The state races were topped with the Louisiana governor’s race between Kathleen Blanco and Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, won by Blanco.

In St. John Parish, Blanco led with 9,484 to 8,136 votes, a difference of 1,348. In St. James Parish, Blanco led 5,727 to 3,442, a difference of 2,285 votes. In St. Charles Parish, Jindal led 10,727 to 7,908, a difference of 4,819 votes.

The state ballot also included the Commissioner of Insurance race between Dan Kyle and Robert Wooley, won by Wooley. In St. John Parish, Wooley received 10,646 to 5,528, a difference of 5,118 votes. In St. Charles Parish, Wooley received 9,927 to 7,777, a difference of 2,150 votes. In St. James Parish, Wooley received 6,603 to 2,201, a difference of 4,402 votes.

Also, Jeff Diaz lost his bid for re-election to the 18th District State Senate seat to Jody Amedee. In St. John Parish, Amedee received 1,610 to 1,509, a difference of 101 votes. In St. James Parish, Amedee received 5,291 to Diez’s 3,717 votes.