With the withdrawal of his opponent, Plaquemine attorney Chad Brown is now the new representative for House District 60.
Brown had faced James Barker, a seven-year veteran of the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, in the Nov. 21 runoff election.
Barker did not return calls Friday seeking comment, but in a message posted on his campaign’s Facebook page, the 26-year-old no party candidate said he was pulling out of the race for “reasons beyond (his) control.”
Brown, a 45-year-old Democrat, said Friday he had a positive conversation with Barker and that he understood it must have been a difficult decision.
“I respect James … and wish him well,” Brown said. “Naturally, as two competitors, you want to see everything through to the end. But I was confident going into the runoff, having received most of the votes cast in the primary.”
Brown led a four-candidate field in the Oct. 24 primary, with 46 percent of the vote. Barker, who listed no political party affiliation on his qualifying papers, came in second with 26 percent.
District 60, which includes Iberville and Assumption parishes, has no incumbent because state Rep. Karen St. Germain, a Pierre Part Democrat, could not seek re-election because of term limits.
In a Facebook message to his supporters Wednesday, Barker praised Brown and the other two primary contenders for running honorable campaigns.
“I encourage all residents in the district to support my opponent, Chad Brown, in his efforts to improve our communities and achieve the goals that will make District 60 a better place for everyone in Iberville and Assumption parishes,” Barker wrote. “I urge all those involved in the political process to refrain from the divisive practices that separate us, but rather to support and uphold the actions which unite us.”
Brown has said previously his No. 1 issue is reducing traffic congestion. He has pledged to fight for a new Mississippi River bridge, but he also wants to explore building a bypass road that would divert traffic from the interstate and La. 1 onto smaller existing highways.
Easing the traffic issues now plaguing the west side also was a top priority for St. Germain during her final year in office.
Brown also has said he’s open to making changes to Louisiana’s tax structure and exemption programs based on an in-depth analysis and wants to promote programs that partner high schools with technical colleges so students can get industry certifications when they graduate.
“I’m excited and ready to get started,” he said Friday.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter @tjonesreporter.