Robottom, Wolfe will face off in runoff election

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 30, 2010


LAPLACE – Just two days removed from Saturday’s St. John the Baptist Parish presidential election, candidates Natalie Robottom and Dale Wolfe both maintained a high level of excitement while also understanding there is still work to be done in advance of the May 1 runoff.

Robottom, who led Saturday’s primary race wire-to-wire, finished with 4,243 votes or 36 percent of the vote, according to Tuesday’s certified results. Wolfe, on the other hand, lagged behind in fourth place until a very late surge pushed him past fellow candidates Buddy Boe and Gerald Keller. Official results show Wolfe racked up 2,540 votes and maintained 22 percent of the vote Saturday. Boe finished with 2,493 votes for 21 percent, Keller earned 2,169 votes, or 19 percent of the vote, and Bailey picked up 236 votes for 2 percent of the vote.

A precinct-by-precinct analysis of the results from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office showed that Robottom was propelled into the lead based on heavy political support, carrying most of LaPlace and all of the parish’s west bank, while Wolfe had a strong showing on the west bank and also carried many majority-black precincts on the east bank.

Robottom carried 12 of the parish’s 34 precincts. Wolfe took the lead in seven and was able to overtake Boe, who also carried 12 precincts, by a total of 47 votes. Keller gathered the most votes in three precincts in Reserve and Garyville. The fifth candidate in the race, Perry Bailey, did not win in any precinct and only collected 2 percent of the total vote.

Wolfe said Tuesday he is confident he can acquire enough crossover votes to be successful.

“I’m very pleased with my position at this point,” Wolfe said. “I’m prepared to work harder to sway voters who supported the other candidates who did not make the runoff. I know I was not the first choice, but I think I can increase support.”

Robottom, whose success stretched across racial lines in several parts of the parish, said she plans to continue to focus her campaign on the issues facing the parish in the future while trying to gain further ground in the runoff.

“There are quite a few votes out there that we can still get,” Robottom said. “My campaign will continue to be positive, honest and professional.”

The special election is being held to replace former Parish President Bill Hubbard, who resigned in September after pleading guilty to federal bribery charges. The winner of the runoff election will carry out the remaining 18 months of Hubbard’s inaugural term.

Both candidates said Tuesday they have spoken to each other but have not yet contacted any other candidates in the race to discuss support in the runoff election. Robottom said she is not taking anything for granted and is still considering her plans as far as contacting Keller, Boe and Bailey for support.

Wolfe has said he is looking to make calls this week to all three.

“I’m not playing any games to get votes, and I am not promising any jobs,” Wolfe said. “The people I have behind me will work hard to get it done.”

Now that votes have been certified, Boe said he plans to contact Wolfe and Robottom to offer any assistance he can in transition. He added that he has no immediate plans to endorse anyone at this time.

“There is work to be done for the next month or so, and we have to keep momentum going,” Boe said. “It is the voters’ choice, and I am not in the position right now to sway support in any direction.

Fourth-place candidate Gerald Keller said he plans to relax before moving forward. He also has not decided whether to get involved in the runoff.