Update, 911 p.m. - It’s over. St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre wins re-election over former colleague and ex-captain Michael Hoover. Tregre wins with 59 percent of the vote, with unofficial turnout at 59 percent. Tregre narrowly missed avoiding a runoff in a four-way primary. He fell 53 votes shy. Not this time, The victory is Tregre’s first as an incumbent. He beat longtime sheriff Wayne Jones in 2011.
Update: 8:57 p.m. - Quick reporting from St. John Parish, where Sheriff Mike Tregre appears to be a lock to win re-election. Tregre now holds 57 percent of the vote with 34 of 39 precincts reporting.
Update 8:50 p.m. - St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre now cruising to a first win as an incumbent. He holds 60 percent of the vote with most precincts reporting.
Update 8;44 p.m. - With early voting and 12 of 39 precincts now reporting, St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre is looking at a comfortable lead in the runoff against former sheriff’s captain Michael Hoover. Tregre is now at 59 percent.
Update, 8:38 p.m. - With early voting and 10 of 39 precincts now reporting, St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre maintained a nearly 3-2 voter advantage in his first re-election bid, holding 58 percent of the vote.
St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre led in early voting Saturday as he sought to win a second term in a runoff against Michael Hoover, a former sheriff’s captain.
Tregre was leading with 61 percent of the vote, with early voting and one of 39 precincts counted.
Tregre, 49, of La Place, fell 53 votes shy of winning a majority and avoiding a runoff altogether in a four-way primary on Oct. 24. Instead, he found himself locked in a fight with his former colleague that churned up bad blood on the campaign trial.
Hoover was a 25-year department veteran before he resigned last summer to run against the man who demoted him to sergeant in a shakeup following Tregre’s 2011 victory over longtime sheriff Wayne Jones.
During the campaign, Hoover launched a series of barbs criticizing Tregre for a crime rate that increased by nine percent in the first half of the year, and for some high-profile troubles in the department.
Hoover questioned Tregre’s struggles to climb out of a $3 million budget hole despite a 2013 sales tax boost that has added more than $2 million a year to his coffers. Tregre has said he inherited a mid-year budget shortfall from Jones and then suffered a setback with the ravages of Hurricane Isaac just a few months after he took office.
Hoover also criticized Tregre’s handling of a sordid scandal inside his narcotics unit, among attacks.
While touting strides in addressing violent crime in the parish - statistics in most major crime categories were lower in the first half of the year - Tregre labeled Hoover’s departure in June as a betrayal. He accused Hoover of abandoning his colleagues and then exploiting the killings of two deputies in 2012 for political gain in a campaign flier.
Hoover scoffed at the notion, touting a resume that includes supervision of the department’s crisis response team and command of the honor guard. He favors closer relationships with churches and community groups, claiming the sheriff’s office under Tregre has become insular and political.
At stake in the race was oversight of a 260-member agency charged with law enforcement in the increasingly suburban parish and oversight of a 300-bed jail facility.
Hoover, 50, of Garyville, took 43 percent of the primary vote.
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