The race for Division E on the 22nd Judicial District bench ended with a neck-in-neck finish that saw Billy Burris, a Franklinton attorney, edge out his less well-funded opponent, Jay Adair, by 292 votes.
The elevation of one judge to an appellate court and the retirement of another have created …
Complete but unofficial returns show Burris and Adair each with 50 percent of the vote in the district, which includes St. Tammany and Washington parishes, but Burris captured 16,277 to Adair's 15,985.
As returns rolled in, Adair, a Mandeville resident who resigned as an assistant district attorney to run for judge, showed early strength. But the Washington Parish tallies lagged, and in the end Burris, a Franklinton native, got the boost he needed from his home parish.
He will take the seat long held by his father, William Burris, whose retirement created the open seat.
"I'm honored, I'm humbled, and I'm excited to be able to serve the people of my community in this way, and I will approach this new position every day with diligence and prayer and a commitment to justice," Burris said in a prepared statement.
The race for the Division H seat did not provide any suspense Saturday, with attorney Alan Zaunbrecher defeating Slidell city prosecutor Reginald Laurent by 62 percent of the vote. Zaunbrecher was comfortably in the lead all night.
He will take the seat left open when Allison Penzato won election to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.