Chris Roberts earned promotion from his West Bank district Council seat to the Parish Wide At-Large Post with a similar 76.21% of the vote or 32,890 to Harahan Councilman Tim Baudier’s 23.79% or 10,269.
However, what was fascinating about the totals was the disconnect between the East and West Banks. Turnout dynamics were low on both sides of the River. Only in Kenner were the totals higher, due to the six milliage hikes and renewals on the ballot. (All taxes failed by nearly 2/3 margins or better.)
Both Roberts and Capella would win nearly every precinct on both sides of the River, having outspent their opponents nearly 15 to 1 in advertising and GOTV efforts. Yet, on the East Bank, the election was far closer, showing a growing political disenchantment in the richer, more Caucasian East than the poorer, more African-American west.
The Louisiana Weekly conducted a precinct by precinct survey in Council District 2. The District, currently held by the term limited Elton Lagasse, encompasses most of central Metairie, Old Jefferson, Harahan, and jumps the River to Westwego. In other words, it contains municipalities and regions that have previously elected both Tim Baudier and Chris Roberts.
For most of its Metairie voters, though, this was the first time they met either candidate. Roberts won District 2, but by a far closer margin than his parishwide totals, 5317 votes to 2032 for Baudier.
It was a solid victory. A world of difference, though, exists for Tim Baudier in earning 38.2% in District 2 than his just under a quarter of the votes parishwide. Mainly, in that Baudier plans to run for the District seat in the fall, when term limits kick in for Elton Lagasse.
The long-time Councilman seeks promotion to the other Council At-Large seat now vacated by Thomas Capella, as the latter assumes the Assessor’s office. That election will be in the fall, currently with the other parish elections.
Put another way, Thirty-Eight percent of the vote provides a strong foundation for a race just seven months away. Baudier has a much stronger chance in October, with just about 4 out every 10 voters having already backed his candidacy previously, than might otherwise appear based on the parishwide totals..
Of course, Roberts may oppose Baudier’s attempt to win a district seat, yet the newly elected At-Large Councilman may face an opponent of his own in this Autumn.
In a breaking story, sources have told The Louisiana Weekly and Bayoubuzz.com that State House Speaker Jim Tucker is conducting a poll, testing his appeal in running parishwide in Jefferson.
Many have thought that the legislatively term limited Tucker would choose to run against Democratic State Senator David Heitmeier in October. However, sources close to Tucker note that the powerful speaker---popular with Democrats as well as Republicans after defying the Jindal Administration during the Governor’s attempt to gerrymander several Jefferson GOP seats into Orleans---might make a more formidable challenger to Roberts, an incumbent of seven months than a fellow West Banker.
Tucker comes from Terrytown, after all, an area that cuts into Roberts’ base in a way that Tim Baudier never could.
Christopher Tidmore is on the radio weekdays from 7-8 AM on WSLA 1560 AM, online at www.gtmorning.com
Bayoubuzz note: We received the following information from House Speaker Jim Tucker after this story was published:
“I do not live in Jefferson Parish but in Orleans. I supported Chris Roberts for councilman at large in Jeff and will continue to do so in the fall.”
Chris Roberts also contacted us after the story was published and said Jim Tucker lived in Orleans Parish and would not be running for a Jefferson Parish council seat.