Judicial candidate Jason Verdigets narrowly defeated O’Neil Parenton Jr. Tuesday for the open Division A seat in the three-parish 23rd Judicial District, complete but unofficial returns say.
In the 23rd JDC’s Division C race, Tess Percy Stromberg beat Bruce E. Unangst II 63 percent to 37 percent, those returns from the Louisiana Secretary of State website say.
Verdigets beat Parenton Jr. by 512 votes, or 51 percent to 49 percent.
As returns arrived, in particular from populous Ascension, the early lead switched from Parenton to Verdigets.
Later as returns continued to roll in, Verdigets and Parenton were in a tie percentage-wise, 50 percent to 50 percent, though Verdigets held the vote lead.
Verdigets, Republican, of Prairieville, eventually won Ascension strongly with a 3,889-vote lead. Those votes translated into Verdigets’ garnering 56 percent to Parenton’s 44 percent in Ascension.
Parenton, Independent, of Prairieville, won in more rural and less populous Assumption and St. James parishes with a 64 percent lead in each, but the leads weren’t enough to overcome Verdigets’ strong margin in Ascension.
Combined, Parenton’s leads in Assumption and St. James amounted to a 3,377-margin over Verdigets before Ascension’s numbers are counted and Verdigets’ 3,889-vote lead in that parish kicked in.
Turnout in the Division A race in Ascension approached 49.3 percent while Assumption turnout was 44.7 percent. St. James Parish had turnout of 53.2 percent as contested School Board races drew voters.
In what ended up being a tough campaign in the final days, the Division C race went strongly for Stromberg, Republican, of Prairieville, against Unangst, also a Republican of Prairieville. Stromberg, judicial administrator and hearing officer for the 23rd JDC, won every parish with at least 61 percent of the vote and won St. James with 71 percent.
Turnout overall for that race was 46.5 percent.
All four candidates were vying for two open seats in the five-person judiciary in the 23rd Judicial District Tuesday. The district encompasses Ascension, Assumption and St. James parishes.
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