Republican Blake Miguez won a special election to the District 49 seat in the state Legislature in a landslide Saturday, capturing 93 percent of the vote in a low-turnout election, according to complete but unofficial election returns.
Miguez will fill the unexpired term of Rep. Simone Champagne in representing District 49, which includes parts of Vermilion and Iberia parishes. Champagne resigned in December with one year left in her second term.
With all precincts reporting, the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office reported that Miguez got 2,705 votes compared to 206 votes for his opponent, fellow Republican John Bering.
Turnout for the special election was low, with just over 11 percent of registered voters casing ballots, according to information posted on the secretary of state’s website.
The regular election for the legislative seat will be in October.
The District 49 seat came open in December when Champagne, 59, and her husband moved from their home in Jeanerette to one in Youngsville. In January, she began a job as chief administrative officer for new Youngsville Mayor Ken Ritter. Champagne served as CAO in Iberia Parish from 2003 until 2007. Her first year in the Legislature was in 2008.
Champagne was elected as a Democrat without opposition in 2007, switching her party affiliation in 2010 to Republican. When she resigned her House seat, she gave up the post of vice chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Champagne said she intended to complete her second term, and in 2013, she announced she would not seek a third term. She said she made the announcement then to give others time to ponder running and plan for a run.
Miguez, a 33-year-old attorney and president of SeaTran Marine, said in January that he had planned to run for the seat in the regular October 2015 election. He said he kicked the campaign into high gear when he found out Champagne was quitting her seat early.
Bering, 55, is a military veteran who lives in Jeanerette and flies helicopters for the oil and gas industry. He complained early on that Miguez had been annointed by the Louisiana Republican Party.
Miguez was the clear favorite with campaign donors. He received tens of thousands of dollars and still had more than $55,000 in his campaign fund on Feb. 11.
Bering didn’t fare so well; on Feb. 11, he reported having $65 in his campaign account.
Jason Hebert, a campaign adviser for Miguez, said the groups endorsing Miguez included WESTPAC, a political action committee of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the National Rifle Association.
Miguez touted his ranking as an expert marksman with handguns.
Early voting ran Feb. 7-14.