Judge’s runoff awaits Dec. 10; Perilloux leads Gauff in tight race

Published 12:10 am Saturday, November 12, 2016

LAPLACE — The final verdict from parish voters concerning who will be St. John the Baptist’s next judge will be announced Dec. 10.

Jeff Perilloux outdistanced fellow challenger Nghana Lewis Gauff Tuesday, coming away with 2,216 votes (38 percent) compared to Gauff’s 2,175 votes (37 percent).

Jeff Perilloux

Jeff Perilloux

The duo are now in a runoff as the race to fill the unexpired term of departing 40th Judicial District Court Division B Judge Mary Hotard Becnel continues for another four weeks.

Nghana Lewis Gauff

Nghana Lewis Gauff

Fellow challenger Rob Snyder Jr. missed out on the runoff despite garnering 1,474 votes, which equaled 25 percent of the turnout.

Snyder released a statement to L’OBSERVATEUR but did not respond to requests for further comment. He did not indicate if he would endorse anyone in the Dec. 10 election.

Rob Snyder Jr.

Rob Snyder Jr.

“It was an accomplishment for someone with my humble beginnings to be able to come so far,” Snyder’s statement read. “I look forward to continuing to serve as your Justice of the Peace with the correct judicial temperament.”


The results from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office listed the turnout at 60.4 percent of possible voters with 5,865 votes cast in the judge’s election.

Perilloux, pleased and humbled with the results, said he is very thankful so many voters participated.

“I’m certainly looking forward to Dec. 10,” Perilloux added. “We will continue to work hard. We are going to anticipate another high turnout and continue to work hard and spread our message.

“I think both of my opponents ran a very good race. I congratulate both of them. But for the one week-or-two-span when there were a couple of negative mailouts, I think overall we ran a good campaign and I’m talking about all three of us.”

Gauff said she was pleased with her standing among voters and referenced the strong turnout this week, which amounted to approximately 2,000 more votes than were cast in the 2014 judge’s election that saw Becnel top Snyder.

“It shows people are committed to civic engagement, which is always a good thing,” Gauff said.

According to Gauff, she will continue to stress to voters that the judiciary must be independent.

“I do believe in independence, looking at what it means to be truly independent and committed to ensuring all people are treated with decency and respect, irrespective of their background or what kind of special interest they may be tied to,” she said. “I am an independent and I have always been committed to that value. That is what I am going to bring to the bench.”

Perilloux said he is looking forward to reaching out to voters who did not vote his way, explaining his message and detailing his track record of experience.

“This is an important election,” he said. “As I said from the get-go, quality of life issues in St. John are extremely important to me. Family is extremely important to me.

“We’re going to continue to run a campaign that is based on those values and hopefully it will resonate with voters.”