The field of five candidates for Lafayette mayor-president has been whittled down to two: a political newcomer who worked in two Lafayette Consolidated Government administrations and an attorney with military experience who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2018.
Josh Guillory, a Republican from Lafayette, and Carlee Alm-LaBar, a no-party candidate from Lafayette, will face one another in a runoff Nov. 16, according to complete but unofficial returns from Saturday's election.
No candidate in the race received more than 50 percent of the vote, forcing the runoff.
Candidates eliminated from the race Saturday include former state Rep. Simone Champagne, a Republican from Youngsville; and political newcomers Carlos Harvin, a Democrat from Lafayette, and Nancy Marcotte, a Republican from Lafayette.
Final results from Lafayette Parish were delayed Saturday night when early votes had to be recounted.
Clerk of Court Louis Perret said the early votes were scanned but the total number cast did not match the number counted.
"That means we're rescanning the 12,000 early votes cast," he said at 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Workers at the Registrar of Voters Office were sequestered in a room recounting early votes cast by paper, fax, email and machine.
The paper, fax and email votes are put through a counting machine, Perret said.
"I'm told that's where the hang-up is," he said.
After the votes are recounted, they're delivered to Perret's office, entered into their system and uploaded through a virtual private network to the Secretary of State's main system, Perret said.
"I am humbled, excited and energetic," Guillory said Saturday night after learning he made the runoff. "I'm very grateful but most of all, humbled."
In the five weeks leading to the Nov. 16 runoff, Guillory said he'll continue to work hard to bring his message to the parish. That message, he said, is positive, proactive and solution-oriented.
Alm-LaBar, the second-highest voter-getter behind Guillory, said it was amazing that in seven months she and her team were able to define her campaign as a no party candidate and, in this age of partisanship, received 28 percent of the vote in a five-person race.
"We see now a great opportunity" in the runoff, she said Saturday night. "Lafayette is going to have a clear choice. The election starts over tonight. We're going to make our case to voters. We feel we have a great vision for Lafayette's future."
Alm-LaBar, 43, was the only candidate in the race with experience inside LCG. She joined the administration of former Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel and later remained with LCG under outgoing Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, resigning in June 2018 to work at Southern Lifestyle Development, a job she left this summer to run for mayor-president.
The first to announce her candidacy, Alm-LaBar is the only candidate to enter the race before Robideaux said he would not seek reelection. She got an early start on fundraising and by far raised more money for her campaign than the other candidates. But Guillory picked up momentum in the final weeks before Saturday's election, with large contributions, including from some individuals and businesses that had already donated to Alm-LaBar's campaign.
Guillory, 36, enlisted in the Louisiana National Guard just before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was deployed to Iraq. An attorney focusing on family law, he unsuccessfully challenged Congressman Clay Higgins, a fellow Republican and the incumbent, for the 3rd Congressional district seat. When Robideaux announced in April he would not seek a second term as mayor-president, Guillory said several people prodded him to run.
If Alm-Labar wins the Nov. 16 runoff, she will be the first woman elected to that post since Lafayette Consolidated Government was created in 1996.
For complete election results from Lafayette Parish and across Louisiana, visit voterportal.sos.la.gov/graphical