In the first part of the year, Jefferson Parish presidency candidate Mike Yenni raised about $89,000 more than his rival for the office, Elton Lagasse.
But Lagasse this year has spent slightly more than Yenni — $8,110, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday.
It’s hard to draw too many conclusions concerning the money coming in and going out for Yenni and Lagasse six months away from the Oct. 24 primary. However, the money raised and the funds on hand for each candidate might not quiet the impression many have that Lagasse made up his mind to run for parish president much later than Yenni did.
The mayor of Kenner since 2010, Yenni raised $101,503 between Jan. 1 and April 17. He spent $34,231, leaving him with $134,753 in his campaign finance account.
Meanwhile, three-term parish councilman Lagasse over the same period raised $12,500, $5,000 of which came in the form of food donated to him for a campaign kickoff event. He spent $42,341, leaving $96,880 in his campaign finance account.
While Lagasse publicly confirmed his candidacy before Yenni did, the at-large councilman announced he was running for parish president in a Facebook post on March 6, a Friday night. The notably low-key announcement caught many political insiders by surprise, causing some to speculate that it was a last-minute decision, though Lagasse has denied that was the case.
Yenni for his part waited until March 18 to announce he would run for parish president, both with a television commercial and at a campaign kickoff event. But he let speculation that he’d be a candidate in the race for the parish presidency mount for months.
Nonetheless, despite the disparity in fundraising early this year, sitting council members such as Lagasse do not typically struggle to drum up financial support as elections approach.
Yenni, 38, and Lagasse, 75, are aiming to succeed Parish President John Young. Young is not seeking re-election and is instead running for lieutenant governor.