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Candidate from lawsuit makes runoff

Tamira Moss-Smith and Justin Arnold earned runoff spots for the City Council District B seat after finishing first and second in Tuesday’s General Election.

The runoff is scheduled for Dec. 6. Moss-Smith and Arnold are seeking to fill the seat of Michael O’Ree, who decided not to seek re-election.

Moss-Smith expressed gratitude to her supporters at her election headquarters on South Columbia Street after Tuesday’s voting.

“I think my community supported me well and I would like to ask them to continue to support me as I enter the runoff,” Moss-Smith said. “I think I led because of dignity and respect. I’m willing and able to serve. The voters did a good job on getting out to the polls.”

Moss-Smith topped three other candidates with 236 votes, or 38.4 percent. Justin Arnold forced a runoff with Smith after receiving 164 votes, or 26.71 percent. He narrowly edged out Keith Merrill, who garnered 26.06 percent, or 160 votes. Emma Dixon had 54 votes, or 8.7 percent of the votes.

Arnold and Dixon were involved in a recent lawsuit that sought to stop the Nov. 4 elections in Districts B and C. The 22nd Judicial Court threw out that request last week. Should Arnold win the runoff, the Registrar of Voters said he would have to move to District B since he was found to live in the district after he qualifying.

Arnold said he felt the lawsuit had no negative bearing on his campaign.

“Mostly it was the redistricting that affected my campaign,” Arnold said. “I’m good with the lawsuit.”

Arnold said he has no intentions of moving should he win on Dec. 6.

“I’m not moving because it wasn’t my fault,” Arnold said. “I’m going to represent the people of District B to the best of my ability.”

The 49-year-old Arnold is retired from the City of Bogalusa’s Public Works Department.

“I want to see District B grow and bring growth on this side of town,” Arnold said. “We want something for these kids to do. I want to see Bogalusa grow. I can work with anybody. Let’s all work together to make a better District B and a better Bogalusa.”