St. Charles special elections draw few qualifiers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011



LAPLACE – State Senate President Joel Chaisson II will take the reigns of the District Attorney’s Office in St. Charles parish as he was the only candidate to qualify for the March 24 special election, while two St. Charles area lawyers will face off in the race for District Judge on the same ballot.

Timothy “Tim” Marcel of Destrehan and Michele Morel of Luling will vie to take over the Division E seat in the 29th Judicial District Court, which was vacated by Robert Chaisson when he was elected to the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in October.

The winner of the March election will finish out the remainder of Chaisson’s term, which is set to expire in 2014. Retired Judge Robert Klees, a former chief of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court as a temporary replacement until the new judge can be sworn in.

In the District Attorney’s race, Joel Chaisson II, the brother of Robert Chaisson, takes over for longtime St. Charles District Attorney Harry Morel Jr. Morel announced in August that he would retire as district attorney effective May 31, saying he did not want his position to become a factor in the campaign of his daughter Michele Morel.

Chaisson served one term as a councilman-at-large in St. Charles Parish and was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1991. He served two terms in the House before moving on to the state Senate.

He was the District 19 Senator for 12 years and ran unopposed the past two terms. Term limits kept him from seeking another term. Current State Rep. Gary Smith Jr. of Norco will take over his seat when the Legislature is sworn in Jan 9.