Barely six months since winning the job, state Rep. Jeremy LaCombe successfully defended his District 18 seat, defeating former Pointe Coupee Parish School Board President Brandon Bergeron.
The freshman Democrat held a roughly 20 percentage point lead over Bergeron, according to complete and unofficial results.
LaCombe, 41, a Democrat and an attorney in New Roads, focused his re-election campaign on infrastructure, education and health care. Bergeron, 44, a Republican who owns a woodworking shop in Morganza, talked about infrastructure and education, as well as drew ideological contrasts with his opponent on taxes and religion.
District 18 includes all of Pointe Coupee Parish as well as parts of Iberville, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes. Of its 26,179 registered voters, 62 percent are white and 36 percent are black. The seat has long been held by Democrats, but in 2016 it went 58 percent to 40 percent for Trump.
Despite the recent Republican tilt, LaCombe beat his Republican opponent in the March 30 runoff by a 2-to-1 margin.
The Legislature began meeting just nine days later. He pointed to accomplishments, including helping to pass a pay raise for school employees, increased hospital funding and redirecting $700 million in proceeds from the settlement of the 2010 BP oil spill for capital outlay projects, including $125 million for the La. 415 connector project in West Baton Rouge Parish.
LaCombe, a pro-life Democrat, also voted for controversial legislation outlawing abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Bergeron, 44, who served three terms on the parish School Board, said he's a Christian conservative voice for blue-collar guys like himself who would vote against new taxes and keep Baton Rouge out of people’s lives. On education, he supports increasing teacher pay and more industry-based certifications for students not planning to attend a four-year university.
LaCombe has dominated fundraising. He finished his last campaign with $16,651 and raising at least $68,000 more since. Bergeron by contrast raised just $5,225, most of that a loan to himself.
CANDIDATE: Jeremy LaCombe
OCCUPATION: Attorney and state representative
EDUCATION: LSU Law School, J.D.
EXPERIENCE: Regional director with Sigma Nu Fraternity; assistant district attorney with Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office; and sole practitioner at LaCombe Law Firm LLC