Voting season isn’t over yet
Saturday’s Primary Election didn’t pack a lot of surprises, but those blows it did connect on sent a strong message to a couple of Tri-parish mayors and school board districts.
The biggest upset of the night was in the City of Thibodaux’s mayoral election. Just over 46 percent of the city’s registered voters elected independent Tommy Eschete over longtime Democrat and incumbent mayor Charles Caillouet. The difference in votes between the two men was a mere 473 votes, or 10 percent among those who cast a vote.
Saturday’s decision brings an end to Caillouet’s 12-year reign in Thibodaux. Over that time, he has worked hard to promote and elevate the city’s standings. He is to be commended for his years’ service to the community.
In St. Mary Parish, Patterson Mayor Mike Accardo was nudged out by fellow Democrat Rodney Grogan. Grogan captured 863 votes compared to Accardo’s 723.
Again, Accardo is to be commended for his service.
The most contentious races on the local front – excluding the mud-fest between District 3 Senate candidates Jeff Landry and Hunt Downer, of course – were school board offices.
And not surprisingly, given the climate at most Terrebonne Parish School Board meetings over the past year, voters sent incumbents Rickie Pitre and Clark Bonvillain – both Democrats – packing.
Pitre garnered 24 percent of the vote compared to Debi Benoit’s overwhelming 76 percent. It was a 776 to 243-vote difference. That represents a pretty strong mandate.
Not quite the statement of the District 5 race, Bonvillain lost his seat to Brenda Leroux Babin by almost 300 votes, or a 22 percent gap.
However, it is worth noting that in both districts, fewer than 23 percent of the voters bothered casting a vote. Among the embarrassingly small minority, the two incumbents failed to strike a chord, falling way short of their female opponents.
Similarly, the Lafourche Parish School Board will bid ado come Jan. 1 to incumbents Jon Callias (who lost to Ann Sanamo) and Gregory Torres, who lost to Marian Fertitta.
All of the incumbents and newcomers are to be congratulated on their successful campaigns. And let Saturday’s election serve as a reminder that Louisiana is a term-limited state. We just enforce it at the polls. We’ll do it again Nov. 2.