"After the primary, the majority of harvest-able voters in this district were the white voters," Gauthier says. "And Chris Williams was unacceptable to the majority of white voters. That's what the numbers show." Overall turnout for the election was 28 percent, compared to 36 percent in the Oct. 20 primary.
In the weeks leading up to Saturday's election, Williams won over the support of outgoing District 44 state Rep. Wilfred Pierre as well as two of his former opponents in the race, Derriel McCorvey and Terry Landry. Williams' camp also tried to make an issue of Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel's support of Hardy, noting that Durel, who lives in the affluent River Ranch community, was out of touch with the needs of the much more blue collar District 44. Durel's endorsement of Hardy noted that he was the only candidate remaining in the race that was a "team player." Gauthier says it appears that "all of the endorsements had little to no impact" on the outcome of the race. ... CHANGING OF THE GUARD IN IBERIA SHERIFF'S ELECTION The election of Louis Ackal as Iberia Parish's new sheriff is the next act in a dramatic power struggle that has been playing out over the last four years. Ackal, a retired state trooper, rode into office with 52 percent of the vote. He was backed by a cadre of New Iberia city police officers who have never forgiven former Mayor Ruth Fontenot and Sheriff Sid Hebert for disbanding the city department. Backed by the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce in the summer of 2004, Fontenot moved the city and parish toward consolidation of law enforcement services. That fall, she and mayor pro tem Nolan Pellerin both lost their bids for re-election based on community anger about dissolving the city police department.
Saturday's election of Ackal over David Landry, Hebert's chief of staff, reflects the ideological split that still divides the city and parish. In an effort to heal the discord, Ackal says after he takes office in July of 2008, he will renegotiate the contract between the sheriff's office and the city, as well as beef up community policing and hire new deputies from the local area. ... BOASSO OUT, BUT NOT OVER State Sen. Walter Boasso, a Democrat from Chalmette who is riding into the non-public sunset after coming in third following this year's gubernatorial primary, probably won't be a completely absent face from the political scene in the near future. Capitol press members were invited last week by Boasso for dinner and drinks at Mansur's. While he told The Advocate recently that he isn't necessarily interested in Congress, he's avoiding directly answering questions about his future gubernatorial ambitions, so don't throw away your Jindal cutouts and Tide boxes just yet. ... MELANCON HAS NEW COS Joe Bonfiglio, who previously served as press secretary for U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat from Wisconsin, has taken over as chief of staff for Congressman Charlie Melancon, a Democrat who represents portions of Acadiana. Casey O'Shea, Melancon's former chief of staff, has accepted the position of national field director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and started the high-profile job last week. He is the second Melancon staffer, following former press secretary Ellery Gould, to be scooped up by the DCCC, which is the official campaign arm of the national party. For Bonfiglio, the new job is certainly a step up and places him firmly in the realm of public servant. A congressional chief of staff is considered to be the top executive in an elected official's infrastructure, with salaries nearing or topping the $100,000 range. They often take the lead on policy and hiring decisions, and traditionally assume key campaign roles, like manager, when re-election nears. Bonfiglio will officially go to work for the 3rd Congressional District later this month.
Contributors: Jeremy Alford, Nathan Stubbs and Mary Tutwiler
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.