Election runoffs today

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2007


Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – Voters go to the polls today to put an end to a pair of very long and intense political races in the River Region involving St. John Parish candidates.

Today’s runoff election will settle the matter of who the next parish president will be in St. John Parish, as well as who will succeed Bobby Faucheux as the next state representative for District 57.

Additionally on the St. John scene, three Parish Council runoffs will be held, while the race to select the next parish president in St. James Parish will also highlight the ballot. Other runoff elections for parish council races will also be held in St. Charles and St. James parishes.

In St. John, all eyes will be on the runoff for parish president.

Incumbent Nickie Monica is term limited out after serving for the past eight years. That opened the door for his Chief Administrative Officer Natalie Robottom to run for the position, and she was challenged by seven others, including a local businessman named Bill Hubbard.

Even though the field was filled with many former and current public officials, various businessmen, and even a pastor, it was businessman Hubbard who emerged as the top challenger to Robottom by making the runoff.

For that matter, Hubbard shocked most observers when he not only made the runoff, but won in the primary with a total of 29 percent of the vote, edging out Robottom in second place with 27 percent.

Hubbard picked up 4,313 votes, with Robottom getting 4,110, as they finished ahead of former Parish Councilman Jobe Boucvalt in third, Rev. Donald Brown in fourth, and former Parish President Arnold Labat in fourth, all garnering just over 11 percent.

Hubbard has gained momentum from early on as he began as a relative unknown on the political scene. His only real connection to the public section was his current position as he serves as a board member with the Port of South Louisiana.

Otherwise he has gained his reputation as a successful businessman, using that approach to get his support with a campaign slogan of “a businessman with a plan,” who has promised to run parish government as a business.

Robottom claims that as the right hand person to Monica for the past eight years, she has the knowledge and experience to step in and run parish government.

She said in a recent interview that she plans to “manage growth, which means having a good infrastructure. And have better planning so we can direct the growth, especially with our schools. I will focus on the fact that I have experience in government, and I’m the candidate who can move this parish forward.”

However Hubbard continued to emphasize the point that people are tired of continuing the same leadership which has been in place for St. John Parish.

“I was actually pleasantly surprised to see we finished first in the primary. I think it proves people are really ready for a change, and my business plan brings that,” Hubbard remarked.

Monica finished first in the primary for the District 57 position, winning by a large margin over Geri Broussard Baloney, a St. John Parish attorney.

Monica pulled down 29 percent with 4,426 votes, as Baloney edged out three other close contenders. Baloney had 18 percent with 2,710 votes, just ahead by 32 votes over St. James Parish attorney Randal Gaines with 17 percent on 2,678 votes, then Natalie Tatje with 17 percent and Gerald Keller with 16 percent.

Monica has pointed to his experience in government as the reason he is the right person to take the House of Representatives District 57 seat.

“The results of the primary show that people recognize the work I’ve done,” Monica pointed out. “You can look around and see the things that I’ve been the leader to get done. We’ve added the War Veterans Home, the National Guard Readiness Center, a new water system, a new sewer system and more.”

Baloney said that her experience as a public defender, as well as her years on the Pontchartrain Levee District, make her ready for the state representative position.

“I’ve worked a lot already with the Legislature, and along with being a small business owner, I know I’m the most prepared to do this job,” she said.

Parish Council races in St. John which will have runoffs today include the District ‘A’ At-Large seat with current parish councilmen Dale Wolfe facing Lester Rainey; the District 1 race with a pair of newcomers taking on each other as Iona Holloway faces Haston “Lipper” Lewis; and the District 3 race where Charles Julien is against Raydel Morris.

In St. James Parish, incumbent Parish President Dale Hymel is in a runoff to retain his seat against Timmy Roussel. Hymel led in the primary with 40 percent of the vote, while Roussel had 33 percent in the three person race.