GONZALES — Voters elected Erin Wiley Lanoux, the daughter of the sitting Ascension Parish sheriff, as the next Parish Court judge, replacing a four-term incumbent who did not seek another six years in office.
Lanoux, 40, the Gonzales city attorney and an Ascension Parish native, will take the helm of the parish's small claims, traffic and misdemeanor court in January.
Lanoux toppled another Gonzales-based lawyer, Kim Landry, 58 percent to 42 percent, according to complete but official returns. Both are Republicans.
Lanoux's victory also means her father, Jeff Wiley, will be expected to step down as the powerful sheriff of one of Louisiana's fastest-growing parishes with one and a half years left on his sixth term.
Wiley announced this summer that he would step down to avoid any conflicts of interest if his daughter were elected. Sheriff's deputies bring thousands of traffic and misdemeanor cases into parish court annually.
As part of her campaign platform, Lanoux promised to look at the misdemeanor court's probation system in an effort to help steer more people away from future criminal violations.
Lanoux also said she wanted to offer more programs for the court's misdemeanor domestic violence cases.
Lanoux, a partner with the downtown Gonzales firm Percy, Lanoux and Mumphrey, has had the majority of her 15 years practicing law in the government and civil arena, including several years in commercial litigation.
During the campaign, Landry had tried to contrast her 22 years of experience in general practice, including regular appearances in Parish Court representing defendants, against Lanoux's experience in criminal court.
Lanoux has never represented a client in that court, she said, but had represented clients in other misdemeanor courts.
Landry also questioned whether Wiley's promise to step down would cure the potential for the appearance of conflicts for Lanoux but several other lawyers rejected Landry's charge.
Lanoux, who got backing from lawyers and politicians across the region, held a hefty fundraising advantage over Landry, raising nearly $165,800 to Landry's $30,670 through mid-October.
Outgoing Judge Marilyn Lambert has been a fixture at the Parish Court since first taking office in late 1990s to fill the unexpired term of former Judge Pegram Mire Jr., who had previously been elected to state district court.
Full results of those races are available on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website, voterportal.sos.la.gov/graphical.