Several council races were close

Published 8:33 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two Washington Parish Council incumbents were reelected after the Oct. 24 primary, while two others were defeated and another was forced into the Nov. 21 runoff.

The remaining two Parish Council seats were filled after incumbents chose not to seek another term.

District 2 incumbent and Council Chairman Mike Fussell defeated Richard Berry 924-863.

District 5 Councilman Pete Thomas joined Fussell in reclaiming his seat. Thomas claimed 66 percent of the vote, defeating J.C. Sumrall 1,450-750.

District 4 incumbent and Bogalusa resident Andre Johnson was defeated by Angie’s Levi Lewis Sr. Lewis took 60 percent of the vote, or 910 votes, to 617 for Johnson.

“The voters made their choice. I was a good steward of the taxpayer dollars,” Johnson said. I wish him well in his tenure and hope he administers the government for all people and not just a few.”

District 6 incumbent and Franklinton resident Greg Route was defeated by fellow Franklinton resident Reginald McMasters. McMasters received 929 votes to Route’s 772. McMasters is superintendent of the town of Franklinton’s Public Works Department.

“It was a good, strong fight and a good election,” McMasters said. “We both worked hard and the people voted. I just offered some experience and different ideas.

“Maybe I offered some different views for the parish as public works superintendent.”

McMasters has been superintendent for the past seven years. This was his first attempt for public office.

“Parish government is basically public works,” McMasters said. “With all that in mind, I believe I can be a help to the council with my experience in public works already. That little experience gave me a desire to help at the next level.”

Rio community resident Perry Talley won the District 1 seat being vacated by Ken Wheat. Talley defeated Bogalusa’s Melvin Keith in a close race. Talley had 914 votes (51 percent) to Keith’s 890 (49 percent).

“I won because of hard work and a good voter turnout,” Talley said, of the 43.5 percent of the eligible voters who cast ballots. “I did it with personal contact by talking to people face to face.

“To those that didn’t vote for me, I hope I can exceed their expectations. I want the people of District 1 to feel they have representation.”

A project manager for the city, Keith said he was “disappointed” by the loss.

“I was a little disappointed. You think about what you could have done differently,” Keith said. “I felt like I did what I could and offered my services.”

District 7 incumbent Aubrey Posey will meet Mount Hermon’s David Anthony in the Nov. 21 runoff. In a three-person field, Posey earned 830 votes, or 44 percent, to Anthony’s 816 votes, or 43 percent. Philip Magee came in third with 260 votes, or 14 percent. Posey is running for a third term.

“I’m doing the best I can to get the message out of what I’ve done for the parish,” Posey said. “The parish has come from having like $12 in the treasury to something like $500,000 during the last audit. I think we’ve done a good job of building roads.”

Bogalusa’s Chris Workman defeated Bogalusa’s Merlin Duke 828-725 to win the District 3 seat being vacated by Dr. Chuck Nassauer. Workman had 53 percent of the vote to Duke’s 47 percent.    

Other local  elections

Incumbent Washington Parish Assessor James “Jimbo” Stevenson defeated former Assessor’s Office employee Helen Hart.

Stevenson won with 71 percent of the votes cast, 8,965 to Hart’s 3,708. Approximately 46.7 of the eligible voters cast ballots in the race.

Bogalusa residents voted to renew a 2.75-mill property tax. The measure passed 1,327 to 1,187.

Statewide races

In Saturday’s primary for governor, John Bel Edwards, running as a Democrat, finished first in statewide voting. He garnered 40 percent of the vote, or 444,061 votes. Republican David Vitter was second with 23 percent, or 256,105 votes.

The two will meet in the Nov. 21 runoff election. Republican Scott Angelle finished third with 19 percent, or 214,907 votes.

In Washington Parish, Edwards earned 45 percent, or 5,733 votes. Vitter was second with 29 percent, or 3,768 votes.

In the race for lieutenant governor, Democrat Melvin “Kip” Holden finished first in a four-person field. Holden had 33 percent, or 360,679 votes, to Billy Nungesser’s 30 percent, or 324,854 votes.

Republican John Young was third with 29 percent, or 313,183 votes. Holden and Nungesser will meet in the Nov. 21 runoff.

In Washington Parish, voters overwhelmingly voted for Nungesser with 42 percent of the vote, or 5,276 votes. Holden and Young both finished with 26 percent. Holden had 3,279 votes, while Young had 3,178.

Incumbent Republican Secretary of State Tom Schedler easily won another term, defeating Democrat Chris Tyson. Schedler received 62 percent of the vote statewide, or 629,153. Tyson had 394,153.

For Attorney General, incumbent Buddy Caldwell will be in a runoff against fellow Republican Jeff Landry. Caldwell received 35 percent of the statewide vote, or 376,187 votes, in the five-person field. Landry received 33 percent, or 347,441.

In Washington Parish, Caldwell received 40 percent, or 4,929, while Landry garnered 30 percent, or 3,617.

Incumbent Treasurer John Kennedy easily defeated fellow Republican Jennifer Treadway. Kennedy amassed 80 percent of the statewide vote, or 787,128. Treadway received 195,595.

Incumbent Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, Republican Mike Strain, will be in the runoff against Democrat Charlie Greer. Incumbent Commissioner of Insurance, Republican Jim Donelon, will also be in a runoff with Democrat Charlotte C. McGehee.