A 24-year-old political novice has edged out a sitting St. Charles Parish Council member in a runoff for the council’s open at-large Division B seat by a margin of only 125 votes.
Democrat Jarvis Lewis, a 2013 graduate of Xavier University and a former parish deputy tax assessor, captured 51 percent of the vote over Julia Fisher-Perrier, 33, a Republican insurance agent who has represented the council’s 7th District since late 2012. All told, 7,055 residents cast ballots in Saturday’s election.
Lewis was also the frontrunner in the April 5 primary, when he secured 47 percent of the vote. Fisher-Perrier finished second in that race with 38 percent, while Des Allemands contractor Stanley Hebert trailed with 15 percent.
The seat — opened up when Clayton “Snookie” Faucheaux resigned from the council last year — must be held by a resident of the west bank, but voters parishwide can cast ballots in the special election. The term runs through 2015.
Throughout the election, Fisher-Perrier appeared to have several advantages over her opponent: greater name recognition, more money and the fact that she is white and he is black in a parish where 70 percent of the voters are white.
However, she had the same advantages in the primary and finished behind Lewis — perhaps because of some voters’ unhappiness with the current council, or perhaps because he simply worked harder than she did in contacting voters and getting them to the polls.
Both candidates live in Luling.
During the campaign, Lewis stressed the need for the Parish Council to spend public money wisely, especially as it works to stash away money for levee projects. During the campaign, he suggested that his candidacy may benefit if voters decide to “split the baby.” By electing him, he said, voters can have both him and Fisher-Perrier on the council together, because she would still have her district seat.
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter @rthompsonMSY