Taking 56 percent of the vote and the office of St. Charles Parish president, Matt Jewell said he was confident he’d perform well but Saturday’s election results “exceeded our expectations”
“Everyone was saying a runoff,” said the Luling resident. “We were prepared for a runoff. I thought there would be a chance we could win right off, but turnout would be key. You just hope for a good turnout and that people will vote for you.”
And they did.
Jewell, 30, a Republican, took 56 percent or 9,720 votes upsetting Democrat incumbent Larry Cochran, who finished 34 percent or 5,965 votes. Opponent Reanda Fields-Pierre, who registered no party, got 10 percent or 1,771 votes.
Early voter turnout was an indicator to Jewell that he might take the win outright, but he did say they were shocked by those results and particularly in a three-candidate race. Early voting results closely paralleled election results with 57 percent of the 4,945 early votes cast for Jewell, followed by Cochran of St. Rose, who got 35 percent and Fields-Pierre, of Luling, who got 8 percent.
Jewell thanked everyone for their support and trust in him over the next four years.
“It’s just a testament to the amount of work we put in, the amount of hours and the will of the people,” he said. “I think knocking on doors and meeting people face to face is what helped me the most. My team and I knocked on close to 7,000 doors.”
Jewell also attributed his favorable turnout to running a campaign based on “what I brought to the table. We let the voters decide.”
Jewell said he’s begun the transition with Cochran and will take the oath of office on Jan. 12.
“There are a lot of projects in the pipeline and we want to make sure we continue the process and nothing is delayed,” he said. “We’re going to hit the ground running and get to speed with drainage, infrastructure and flood protection.”
The parish president race topped seven races in the parish.
Connie Aucoin won the Division C seat with the 29th Judicial District Court with 10,157 votes over Corey Oubre’s 6,286 votes. Both are Destrehan residents and Republicans.
The special election was held to fill one year remaining on Judge Emile St. Pierre’s term, who is retiring. Aucoin, who has served as the parish’s assistant district attorney for seven years, will seek re-election next year for a full six-year term.
“I’m just absolutely humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and the confidence the legal community and people of St. Charles Parish have in me,” she said. “I look forward to serving the people of St. Charles Parish in this new role.”
Aucoin will be sworn into office on Dec. 2. She has started meeting with St. Pierre to ensure a smooth transition.
In Council District 1, La Sandra Darensbourg Gordon, a Democrat of Hahnville, took the seat with 50.76 percent of the vote. She also faced two candidates, both Democrats: Brandon Isaac of Killona, who received 30 percent of the vote, and Aleshia Smith of Hahnville, who received 19 percent.
Gordon is also hitting the ground running with the parish’s proposed budget, and focusing on drainage.
“I’m excited and ready to work,” she said, adding she also knocked on doors and reached out to residents by telephone in her district.
In council District 4, Nicky Dufrene won the election and also attributed this win to going out and shaking hands, as well as keeping a notebook with him to record the people’s concerns so he can address them on the council.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I have some fresh ideas. I’m looking at old problems in a different light and I look forward to serving the people for the next four years and letting their voices be heard.”
Dufrene got 70 percent of the vote over opponent Jason Richard with 29 percent. Both are Des Allemands residents.
“I feel good and look forward to making some positive changes,” said Dufrene, president of DuFrazier Services. “And it makes you feel good that many people in your district have the same vision as me and want to see some positive changes.”
“I think knocking on doors and meeting people face to face is what helped me the most.” — Matt Jewel
District 5 incument Marilyn Bellock, a Democrat, won a second term with 58 percent over Anthony Straughter Sr. with 42 percent. Both are of St. Rose.
Bellock thanked her team for their hard work during the campaign, as well as her campaign manager and those who donated to her campaign.
“Thank you for putting your trust in me or four more years,” she said. “Let’s go to work.”
Bob Fisher of Montz won over two opponents in District 6.
With 54 percent of the vote, Fisher, a Republican, took the seat. Opponent Keith Schexnayder got 26 percent and Jack Fletcher, 19 percent. Schexnayder, is a Democrat and Fletcher isn’t registered with a party. Both are of Norco.
“I ran my campaign on building our future together and my job as District 6 councilman to pull the four communities (Norco, Montz, New Sarpy and Destrehan) together,” Fisher said. “I’m really happy with the results that everyone across the district supported me. It was amazing just to see people who want a change.”
Fisher is ready to review the parish’s proposed budget and ensure District 6 projects are funded and completed. He also intends to focus on drainage, better flood protection for Norco and overall flood protection for the rest of the district.
Seeking a second term, incumbent Paul Hogan lost the councilman-at-large Division B race.
There will be a runoff between Republican Holly Fonseca, who recorded 6,952 votes, and Councilman Terrell Wilson, a Democrat, with 5,896 votes. Wilson termed out as District 1 representative.