All signs seem to indicate that Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni will confirm his long-speculated candidacy for Jefferson Parish president in the Oct. 24 election when he meets with supporters at Chateau Golf & Country Club on Wednesday night.
A card Yenni sent to his supporters inviting them to the event to learn about “his decision on seeking the office of Jefferson Parish president” contained the slogan “Progress for Jefferson.”
Numerous observers of local politics have cited Yenni as a likely candidate to succeed Parish President John Young ever since Young said last summer he would run for lieutenant governor this fall rather than seek a second four-year term.
A previous Kenner mayor who made the jump to Jefferson Parish president was Yenni’s grandfather, Joseph S. Yenni. And his uncle — also named Mike Yenni — held the office of parish president as well.
Nonetheless, the second-term mayor remained tight-lipped about his plans Tuesday, declining to respond to a text message requesting comment from him on his intentions.
Three-term Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse announced his candidacy for president March 6.
Lagasse said Tuesday afternoon he had not spoken to Yenni about the latter’s plans. But he noted that he is well acquainted with the Yenni family.
Lagasse, 75, said he played football for coach Joseph Yenni at Kenner High School and East Jefferson High School in the 1950s. Then, he coached Joseph Yenni’s son, Mike, at East Jefferson.
“I’ve known (them) my whole life,” Lagasse said.
Yenni, 38, does not need to resign as mayor to pursue the parish presidency. Should he win, a special election would be held to choose someone to finish out his term, which has more than three years to run. The president of Kenner’s City Council would serve as acting mayor until the special election is held.
Before first winning his current job in 2010, Yenni was the chief administrative officer for Ed Muniz, Kenner’s mayor from 2006 to 2010. Earlier, he was director of Jefferson Parish’s Citizens Affairs Office.
Yenni and Lagasse began the year with $67,482 and $131,721, respectively, in their campaign finance accounts, according to their annual filings.