Apr 5, 2014 11:27 PM by Ian Auzenne
Several Acadiana towns have newly-elected officials, while races in other areas are headed to runoffs.
John Earl Leblanc claimed 65 percent of the vote to defeat fellow alderman Tony Richard in the Erath mayor's race. Leblanc will take over from interim mayor Billy Cormier, who has been in office since the 2013 death of former mayor George Dupuis.
This seat will be up for grabs again in November when candidates run for a full four-year term.
Erath residents also elected a new alderman. Chris Hebert took 58 percent of ballots cast to beat Alvin Benoit for the seat vacated by Cormier when he took the mayor's position.
Kaplan mayor Kirk Champagne will spend another four years in office after defeating challenger Gerard "Jerry" Touchet. Champagne, who was first elected in 2010, claimed 62 percent of the vote in today's election.
Kaplan's alderman at large position was decided by a much slimmer margin. Dirk Gary beat Ronald Schexnaider by 24 votes to claim the seat. Gary garnered 493 votes (51%) to Schexnaider's 469 (49%).
In Abbeville, District D councilman Wayne Landry won re-election by a landslide. Landry claimed 65 percent of votes cast to win his third term in office, defeating challengers Kamesha Scott (19%) and Marilyn Mitchell (16%).
All three of Franklin's contested races were decided today.
Raymond Harris, Jr., will remain the mayor of Franklin after beating challenger Kenny Scelfo, Sr., by more than 200 votes, taking 55% of the ballots cast.
Lester "Motor" Levine, Jr., won the councilman-at-large seat handily. Levine took 66% of the vote to beat Kerry Martin.
Chuck Autin won the Franklin District B council seat in a landslide. Autin claimed 71% of the vote to defeat Brandon Trahan.
Two St. Martinville council seats were filled in today's election.
In District 3, Dennis Paul Williams claimed 54 percent of the vote to defeat Winfield Ledet for the post.
In District 5, Romanus "Ike" Robertson beat Arthur Champ, Jr., by 12 votes. Robertson picked up 214 votes (51%) to Champ's 202 votes (49%).
In Palmetto, Joseph Irving, Jr., is the town's new alderman. He defeated Grant Coburn by taking 71% of ballots cast (52 votes to 21).
A former Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy will be Arnaudville's next police chief.
Eddy Lecompte edged out current interim chief Toby Wetzel by 17 votes, claiming 144 ballots (53%) to Wetzel's 127 (47%).
The seat was vacated in late 2013 when former chief Richard Mizzi resigned from office.
Arnaudville residents will once again vote on the position in November when candidates run for a full four-year term.
Residents in St. Martinville and St. Landry Parish will be going back to the polls on May 3 for the general election.
St. Martinville mayor Thomas Nelson and challenger Melinda Narcisse Mitchell will meet on next month's ballot. Nelson picked up the plurality in tonight's race, garnering 45 percent of the vote. Mitchell received 31 percent of ballots cast.
Debra Landry and Nary Smith, Sr., will meet in the May general election to decide St. Martinville's next District 4 councilman. Landry picked up 39% of the vote in the four-person race. Smith, the city's former assistant police chief, garnered 30% of ballots cast.
In the St. Landry Parish District 10 school board race, Stephen Woods will face Hazel McCrea-Sias in the May 3 general election. McCrea-Sias pulled 43% of the vote to win a plurality. Woods finished in second place with 24% of the vote.
A number of tax propositions were approved today. Loreauville residents approved a new property tax to fund sewer maintenance. Acadia Parish residents agreed to a tax to fund a station and equipment for Fire Protection District No. 1. Vermilion Parish residents funded a number of taxes for library and roads maintenance.
One tax proposition on today's ballot did fail. Welsh resident's shot down a property tax that would have funded recreation projects in the city. That tax, which was shot down by 61 percent of the voters, would have raised more than $202,000 annually for 10 year for various recreation initiatives in the town.