The two apparent frontrunners for vacant State Representative seats in District 18 and District 62 narrowly missed wins Saturday, and are headed to a runoff next month.
According to complete but unofficial voter records posted on the Secretary of State website Saturday, Jeremy LaCombe in District 18 came away with 43 percent of the vote, and Dennis Aucoin in District 62 garnered 45 percent of the votes.
If no individual candidate captures more than 50 percent of the vote, it goes to a runoff between the top two candidates in an election on March 30.
That means the District 18 race will pit LaCombe against Tammi Fabre, who yielded 23 percent of the vote. In District 62, the runoff election will be between Aucoin and Roy Adams, who secured an unofficial 31 percent of the vote.
District 18 covers all of Iberville, West Baton Rouge, and Pointe Coupee parishes and part of West Feliciana parish. District 62 covers the majority of East and West Feliciana parishes and the northern area of Zachary.
LaCombe, a New Roads attorney, focused his campaign on healthcare and education. A Democrat, he's served on multiple boards and committees, including the home rule charter committee that drafted Pointe Coupee Parish's constitutional document. He's cited a new bridge, traffic and infrastructure needs on the west bank as main priorities.
Fabre, a long-time real estate broker in Pointe Coupee Parish, ran as one of two Republicans in the race, saying it was time for the historically Democratic-run area to be flipped. She talked during her campaign about the need for a more business-friendly environment in her district, she echoed the need for another bridge and spoke about increasing opportunity for agricultural businesses.
In District 62, logger and outdoors enthusiast Aucoin was just 4 percent away from securing the 50 percent in unofficial votes Saturday. Aucoin, a Republican, served on the East Feliciana police jury for eight years and earlier this week said he believed he could provide local and political knowledge to the state representative position. He said improving roads, education and industry are necessary to fuel further growth in the Felicianas and Zachary.
Aucoin's challenger, independent Adams, has been a fixture in the Jackson community through work at the family grocery store, Adams Enterprises.
He said his decision to run for the vacant seat was spurred from seeing his customers' everyday problems and wanting to be able to help. He promised to take on the State Representative position full-time if elected, saying he wanted to "be there for the people." He also spoke of Zachary's roads and infrastructure as a priority, along with education.
The seats in both districts were vacated in late 2018 when their respective representatives were voted in as leaders in parish government.
Major Thibaut, who represented District 18, was elected in November as Pointe Coupee Parish’s first president as the parish moves from a police jury to a council system. He took on the role officially in January.
Kenny Havard vacated the District 62 seat in December for the same reason, but to join West Feliciana government as president.
Voter turnout in District 62 was 16.5 percent and District 18 recorded 28.2 percent turnout, according to the Secretary of State site.