3 pack judge’s race in St. John Parish; locals qualify in other locations

Published 12:08 am Saturday, July 23, 2016

LAPLACE — The race to replace longtime judge Mary Hotard Becnel includes a few familiar names.

Those who qualified this week include Nghana Lewis Gauff, Jeff Perilloux and Rob Snyder Jr.

The election is Nov. 8, and a runoff, if needed, is scheduled Dec. 10. Early voting for Nov. 8’s election is Oct. 25 though Nov. 1.

Gauff is a LaPlace attorney whose firm offers criminal, civil rights, employment discrimination, social security and other services.

She listed a LaPlace address and no party affiliation during qualifying.

Perilloux has practiced law in St. John the Baptist Parish since 1994 and has served as an assistant district attorney for 12 years. Perilloux also serves as legal counsel for St. John the Baptist Parish Government.

He listed a LaPlace P.O. box and no party affiliation during qualifying.

Snyder is a lawyer with more than 15 years experience and a former law enforcement officer. He is the District 3 Justice of the Peace.

Snyder listed a Reserve P.O. box and Democrat party affiliation during qualifying, which concluded Friday.

The judge’s position opened after Becnel announced she was stepping down as 40th Judicial District Court Division B Judge at the end of 2016, leaving open the door to local candidates looking to serve out the remainder of her term, which ends in 2021.

She is retiring, in part, to spend more time with her husband, Daniel Becnel Jr., who became ill late last year. Her last day as judge is Dec. 31.

Becnel last won reelection in November 2014, earning 81.16 percent of the vote, with 3,098 votes cast her way.

Two candidates had qualified in the parish’s other local election — Justice of the Peace District 4.

Terry “Tuni” Toney Jones, a Democrat from LaPlace, and Darlene Triche-Hall, a Reserve Democrat, have thrown their names in the hat.

The race for U. S. Representative 2nd Congressional District, which covers part of St. John the Baptist Parish, includes Kip Holden, a Democrat from Baton Rouge; Kenneth Cutno, a Democrat from New Orleans; incumbent Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from New Orleans, and Samuel Davenport, a New Orleans Libertarian.

The race for U. S. Representative 6th Congressional District, which also covers part of St. John the Baptist Parish, includes incumbent Garret Graves, a Baton Rouge Republican; Richard Lieberman, a LaPlace Democrat; Devin Lance Graham, a Prairieville resident with a listed party affiliation of “other;” Republican Bob Bell of Baton Rouge; Richard M. Fontanesi, a Libertarian from Baton Rouge, and Jermaine Sampson, a Democrat from Norco.

Lieberman said it is apparent after his examination of Graves’ Congressional voting record that Graves’ main focus in Congress is a devoted allegiance to campaign donors.

“Most importantly paramount is that Garret Graves has masqueraded as a conservative while his voting record reveals a disregard for the consequences of many votes he cast, which could impact our national debt,” Lieberman said.

“Basically, Garret Graves has voted in favor of certain bills which hold the potential to create near $1 Trillion in debt.”