Shortly after Jefferson Parish District 5 Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng announced she intended to run for an at-large seat in the Oct. 24 election, more than one political observer speculated that former interim Councilman Mike Thomas might try to succeed her.
Thomas on Friday said he hadn’t yet made up his mind about his plans — but campaigning to represent Metairie-based District 5 on the Jefferson Parish Council was something he was “definitely looking at.”
“I feel like my qualifications and experience are (well-suited),” said Thomas, 41, a Metairie lawyer who served on the council as an interim appointee from April 2011 to January 2012. “I’m talking to friends and family about (running to succeed Lee-Sheng), and I’ll probably make a decision soon.”
Thomas — who hasn’t yet set up a campaign finance account — was an aide for former at-large Councilman Tom Capella until voters elected Capella to be parish assessor in April 2011. Shortly thereafter, with a 3-1 vote, the council appointed Thomas to finish out Capella’s term, which expired after elections later that fall.
A former assistant district attorney and assistant parish attorney, Thomas developed a reputation as being one of the most vocal members of the council. That surprised some given the fact that he wasn’t elected.
Thomas said he’s made phone calls to some political consultants but hasn’t let the conversations go on too long “because once you make that decision ... you start paying.”
Lee-Sheng can’t seek re-election to her District 5 seat due to term limits. She hasn’t indicated which of two at-large seats on the council she is pursuing.
Many assume Lee-Sheng will go for the at-large seat being vacated by Elton Lagasse, who’s declared himself a candidate for the parish presidency. Current Parish President John Young in August entered the race for the office of lieutenant governor.
Aside from Thomas, many speculate Jennifer Van Vrancken Dwyer — Young’s second-in-command — might run to succeed Lee-Sheng in District 5. Dwyer has so far declined to confirm or deny her interest in the District 5 seat.