Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand breezed to reelection Saturday over a little-known challenger, securing a third consecutive term in office.
The Republican incumbent garnered 88 percent of the votes, trouncing political newcomer Anthony Bloise, a former submarine builder who waged a quixotic and entirely unfunded bid to unseat one of the most popular elected officials in the New Orleans area.
Bloise, 72, garnered a meager 12 percent of the ballots.
Normand, 57, was swept into office by a similarly crushing margin — 91 percent — in 2007 shortly after the death of his colorful predecessor, Harry Lee, who served as sheriff for seven terms and anointed Normand his heir apparent.
Normand ran a low-key campaign that nevertheless allowed him to expand a seven-figure war chest. His reelection bid had been something of an afterthought by Friday when his regular breakfast club meeting in Old Metairie became the site of a bizarre spying episode, in which deputies arrested a private investigator caught recording a conversation between the sheriff and several associates.
The investigator, Robert Frenzel, had been working for a Texas firm paid by U.S. Sen. David Vitter to conduct opposition research against John Bel Edwards, Vitter’s Democratic opponent in Saturday’s gubernatorial race. Vitter’s campaign suggested the surveillance, on the eve of the election, had not targeted the sheriff but a “major donor” of Edwards.
Normand, long a political foe of Vitter, considered running for governor himself but decided instead to seek a third term at the helm of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. In an interview earlier this month, the sheriff said he hopes to bring about further reductions in crime in a jurisdiction that sees only a fraction of the killings that plague neighboring New Orleans.
The JPSO is regarded among the most technologically savvy in the state, and Normand said he hopes to continue advances seen through programs like automatic license plate readers.
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