Familiar names, runoffs dominate voting for Parish Council, Assessor

Published 10:12 pm Saturday, October 24, 2015

Voters seemed to feel comfortable with familiar faces as incumbents and entrenched candidates landed in many runoffs or won St. John elections outright Saturday night.

In the St. John the Baptist Parish Assessor’s race, current Parish Council member Lucien Gauff III made a runoff against Kevin Prudhomme, a 15-year veteran of the Assessor’s office, where he currently works as deputy assessor and office manager.

Prudhomme finished with 44.86 percent of the turnout, and Gauff collected 33.3 percent.

In the election for St. John the Baptist Parish Council At-Large Division A, a runoff is now set between Larry Sorapuru Jr., who collected 47.18 percent of the turnout, and Sylvia Taylor-Dunn, who collected 26.68 percent.

Sorapuru, a lifelong resident of Lucy, is a retired industrial worker who spent 36 years with Monsanto. Taylor-Dunn is a former Louisiana workers’ compensation judge.

Incumbent Jaclyn Hotard won a heads-up election victory over fellow Councilwoman Cheryl Millet in the race for Division B Council Member At-Large. Hotard finished with 4,391 votes, compared to Millet’s 2,752 votes.

In the Parish Council District 1 race, voters shrunk the field from four to two, sending Kurt Becnel into a runoff against Lester “Coach” Smith.

Arthur “Dokie” Smith finished third and out of the runoff.

In the Parish Council District 2 race, a runoff is set between challenger Julia Remondet and current office holder Ranney Wilson.

Wilson has 20 years of experience with the Parish Council, but the District 2 representative faces a challenge in his bid to keep the seat through 2016 and beyond. Remondet collected the most votes Saturday, her 996 topping Wilson’s 512.

Remy Amedee was third with 418.

Incumbent St. John the Baptist Parish District 3 Councilman Lennix “Tweet” Madere Jr. easily defeated challenger Lionel Dennis, collecting 1,285 votes to Dennis’ 456. Madere will retain the seat.

The news was similar in District 5, where incumbent Councilman Michael Wright collected 1,529 votes (72.22 percent) compared to challenger Dwayne Francis, who finished with 588 votes or 27.78 percent.

In District 6, incumber Larry Snyder finished with 1,202 votes, compared to challenger Jerry Wilson’s 419 votes.

Wright and Snyder both retain their seats.

The power vacuum that existed in District 7 on the St. John the Baptist Parish Council was filled soundly. St. Charles Parish Chief Administrative Officer Buddy Boe won a resounding victory, collecting 1,543 votes (62.14 percent). He avoided a runoff.

Information technology specialist with Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann Law Firm Lamont Bigham finished second with 678 votes (27.31 percent), while Economy Bookkeeping & Tax Service President Steven Fraker finished third with 262 votes (10.55 percent).

The Justice of the Peace District 3 special election will go to a runoff next month after voters picked Rob Snyder and Darlene Triche-Hall for the top two showdown.