District Attorney Mike Harson of Lafayette tells LaPolitics he is “definitely” seeking re-election this fall, despite a well-funded challenge from former Assistant District Attorney Keith Stutes.
“I’ve heard the rumors and they are not true,” Harson says. “I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
Harson adds that his campaign finance account will have collected nearly $500,000 by the beginning of June, if not more — a sizable amount for a district attorney’s race.
Stutes, who recently produced his first TV spot, reported having more than $200,000 in the bank earlier this year.
Harson also mailed out a letter to constituents recently apologizing for “the involvement of three employees in a bribery scheme” and asking them not to let it cloud their election decisions.
The ongoing investigation over DWI cases has not been connected back to Harson directly. In a prepared statement sent to LaPolitics, Stutes says he asked Harson about the program that led to the investigation when he worked for the district attorney:
The investigation and its results brought shame and embarrassment to the office. We did not receive an explanation, nor a response, much less an apology. He claims that he has been ‘cleared’ by the investigations, but has yet to explain how a criminal conspiracy, centered on a special program he created and in which his approval was required in every single case, could have gone on without his knowledge and consent.