How much did your vote cost?

Candidates use different strategies to capture

October 31, 2007 at 12:08 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Running a political campaign is not an easy thing to do.
The candidates have to hire a dedicated staff to get their message across, while formulating a plan to deal with the many issues that affect their constituents. They must also keep up public appearances, out-hustle their competitors, and in some cases go door-to-door to get their message across.

And of course they have to spend a boatload of money.

Every single candidate for public office in St. Charles Parish was able to see just how cost affective their campaign strategy was when the final votes were tallied in the Oct. 20 primary. Some candidates were able to pick up votes without spending any money at all, while others dished out a small fortune to improve their numbers at the polls.

State Representative Gary Smith was in the latter category after raising a total of $53,083.15 over the past year. Of that, Smith spent $35,784.01 and in turn won his election with 7,444 votes, which equates to $8.95 per vote. On the other hand, his competitor "Ram" Ramachandran raised only $4,550, but managed to spend $24,613.82, with most of that money coming from a $20,000 loan. Ramachandran may have been defeated, but while Smith could have bought each of his voters a CD, Ramachandran only had to buy them a value meal at McDonalds, since he spent $4.16 per vote.

While the state representative race for the 56th District proved to be a heated affair, the race for the 105th District was mild in comparison. 

Russell Hayden only got 1,132 votes, or 27 percent, but he raised only $270.76 and spent $80, which gives him a cost saving price per vote of .07 cents. Meanwhile, Ernest Wooton, who defeated Hayden by recording 3,027 votes, had the highest price per vote ratio in the parish at $13.06. Over the course of the last year, Wooton raised $108,256.84 and spent $39,541.74.

Like the state representatives race for the 105th District, the sheriff's race also proved to be a blowout with current Sheriff Greg Champagne routing his competitors by recording 83 percent of the vote. Champagne raised $93,801.01 during the election and spent $80,708.21. While that may seem like a lot, the fact that Champagne received 14,744 votes knocks his price per vote down to $5.47.

His two competitors in the election, Dennis "Black" Roussel and Eric Stumpf, spent $10.42 per vote and $6.15 per vote, respectively.

Unlike the previous three races, the battle for the Clerk of Court was a pretty cheap affair. Incumbent, and winner, Charlie Oubre, Jr. didn't spend a dime, while Al Cote, who received 1,263 votes, didn't raise any money whatsoever and only spent $2,225.39. That gave Cote a price per vote total of $4.50. Lance Marino proved to be the big spender in this race by raising $8,100 and spending $20,323.61. Marino received 6,596 votes, which knocks his price per vote down to $3.08.

Like Oubre, Clyde "Rock" Gisclair got re-elected without having to spend more than $1,000, while his competition in the race, Kevin Friloux, didn't spend more than $1,000 and didnt raise more than $200.

In the Councilman At Large, Division A, April Black and Carolyn Schexnaydre are headed into a runoff on Nov. 17 even though Black spent almost eight times more money than Schexnaydre. Because of that, Black had a price per vote ratio of $1.26, while Schexnaydre only spent .18 cents per vote.

While the victor in the Councilman At Large, Division A race is still in question, Terry Authement was able to lock up Division B by recording 56 percent of the vote. Authement raised $12,250 throughout the past year and spent $9,726.14 of that during the election. Meanwhile, his competitor Brian Fabre managed to raise $35,000 while spending $54,469.21. In turn, Authement's price per vote  was $1.02, while Fabre's was $7.28.

While most of the candidates for public office reported their campaign contributions and expenses, others did not due to the fact that a person only has to submit such information if they raise more than $200 or spend more than $5,000. Candidates are trusted to report such information on the honor system.

Amount raised and spent in the rest of the council races is as follows:

(All totals as of 10/10/07)

Councilman, District 1

Billy Raymond, Sr.- Won election with 1,444 votes
Total Raised- $3,657
Total Spent- $1,973
Total Spent Per Vote- $1.37

Marty Muller- Defeated with 1,048
Total Raised- $3,250
Total Spent- $3,498.08
Total Spent Per Vote- $3.34

Councilman, District 2

Shelley Tastet- In runoff with 1,083 votes
Did Not Report

Kennilyn Schmill- In runoff with 899 votes
Did Not Report

James "J.J." Breaux
Total Raised- $1,3825
Total Spent- $6,875.54
Total Spent Per Vote- $8.99

Councilman, District 3

Wendy Benedetto- Won election with 1,686 votes
Total Raised- $8,593.91
Total Spent- $3,430.43
Total Spent Per Vote- $2.03

Vincent Bruno- Defeated with 1,309 votes
Did Not Report

Councilman, District 4

Paul Hogan- Won election with 1,105 votes
Did Not Report

Derryl Walls- Defeated with 835 votes
Total Raised- $1,219.47
Total Spent- $1,218.42
Total Spent Per Vote- $1.46

Councilman, District 5

"Larry" Cochran- Won election with 1,373 votes
Total Raised- $3,600.96
Total Spent- $2,034.34
Total Spent Per Vote- $1.48

Richard "Dick" Palmer- Defeated with 732 votes
Total Raised- $3,571,12
Total Spent- $3,277.09
Total Spent Per Vote- $4.48

Councilman, District 6

Marcus Lambert- In runoff with 906 votes
Did Not Report

Keith L'Hoste- In runoff with 755 votes
Did Not Report

Keith Schexnayder- Defeated with 720 votes
Did Not Report

Councilman, District 7

Adam Eitmann- In runoff with 918 votes
Did Not Report

Dennis Nuss- In runoff with 772 votes
Did Not Report

"Sam" Dantin, Jr.- Defeated with 498 votes
Total Raised- $2,940.03
Total Spent- $2,415.95
Total Spent Per Vote- $4.85

Bryan Bedi- Defeated with 274 votes
Total Raised- $1,255.57
Total Spent- $255.57
Total Spent Per Vote- .93 cents

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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Considering the kind of year 2016 has been for St. Charles Parish Sheriff's deputies with them assisting Baton Rouge with officer shootings and Louisiana's historic flood, Sheriff Greg Champagne recognized all 422 staff members as this year's "Deputy of the Year."

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