With the council scheduled to appoint its newest member next Wedensday, support is building for two applicants, and the council may be heading for a split decision. The council interviewed all five of the applicants for the District 6 council seat last night. Whoever is appointed will replace outgoing councilman Bruce Conque who is stepping down to take a new full-time position with the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. The appointee will serve until a special election in April decides who will fill out the remaining three years of Conque’s term. By charter, the council appointee will be prevented from running in the special election.
Raymond Sam Doré, who ran for the Distrcit 6 seat against Conque last year and lost with 35 percent of the vote, picked up two unexpected endorsements this week. On Wednesday, attorney John Bernhardt, who is also chairman of the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee, withdrew his application for the council seat to endorse fellow Democrat Doré. In a more bizarre move, KVOL radio talk show host Todd Elliott used his interview for the District 6 seat last night to back Doré, noting Doré was the only applicant who showed the commitment to run for the seat last year.
In his interview, Doré said that he had “given up six months of his life” running for office, raising money and walking the entire district. He told councilmen that they had earned their seats and that “I feel I’ve earned it too.” Doré says he plans to run for the council seat again in three years but that he felt the special election in April is too soon for him to mount another campaign.
City-parish government sources say a few councilmen are now leaning toward selecting Doré. Another emerging contender is Republican attorney Judy Kennedy. With the council (minus Conque) split between four Democrats and four Republicans, one council member contacted this morning, who wished to remain anonymous, says the body may be headed for a split decision. In the event of a 4-4 split, the appointment will be decided by the Governor.