Saturday elections showed high local turnout

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012



LAPLACE – Although the ballot was light, turnout was relatively high in the River Parishes for a trio of special local elections accompanying the Presidential Primary Saturday.

In St. James Parish, Gonzales Juvenile Court judge Jessie LeBlanc beat Gonzales attorney Matthew Pryor for the 23rd Judicial District Judge race. LeBlanc received 72 percent of the vote to Pryor’s 28 percent. The race, which included portions of Ascension, Assumption and St. James parishes, showed a roughly 20 percent turnout according to the Secretary of State’s Office. LeBlanc will complete the term of Judge Jane Triche-Milazzo, who was appointed to the federal bench in New Orleans. The term ends in 2015.

The other race in St. James Parish was for District 3 Alderman in the town of Gramercy. With more than 36 percent voter turnout, Rhonda Lee came out on top with 74 percent of the vote. Craig Calcagno garnered 33 percent of the vote, and Arile A.J. Laiche received 20 percent. Lee takes the place of Alvin St. Pierre, who left the Board of Aldermen for the St. James Parish Council.

The most heated race of the special election was in St. Charles Parish, where Luling attorney Michelle Morel narrowly beat out Destrehan attorney Tim Marcel for the Division E 29th Judicial District Judge seat. Morel received 51 percent, or 4,919 votes, while Marcel garnered 49 percent, or 4,751 votes. Nearly 30 percent of the voters in the region turned out for the election. Morel will fill the seat left vacant when Judge Robert Chaisson was elected to the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal. His term was set to expire in December 2014.

In the Louisiana Republican Primary, Rick Santorum won by a wide margin with 49 percent of the vote. He was followed by Mitt Romney with 26.7 percent and Newt Gingrich with 15.9 percent.