Roy Daryl Adams.jpg

Roy Daryl Adams

Family grocer Roy Daryl Adams was re-elected Saturday as representative for the Felicianas-based District 62 in the Louisiana House of Representatives, defeating technical college administrator Johnny Arceneaux.

Complete but unofficial returns show Adams with 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent for Arceneaux. 

Adams led a field of four on Oct. 12 with 38 percent of the vote followed by Arceneaux with 31 percent, forcing a runoff. 

Adams, an Independent, is seeking a full, four-year term after serving for the past six months as the district's representative. The 61-year-old Jackson resident operates the family-owned grocery store Adams Enterprises.

Arceneaux, 66, a Republican and a resident of St. Francisville, is retiring after 12 years as an administrator at the Baton Rouge Community College campus in Jackson.

The candidates both are sons of grocery store owners who attend Baptist churches and graduated from the former Jackson High School.

While Adams remained in the family business, Arceneaux went on to a varied career as a teacher, utility worker, insurance agent, industrial trainer, motivational speaker and character education specialist.

Both Adams and Arceneaux pledged to protect and improve state institutions in their areas, to protect and expand public school funding and support future teacher pay raises. They also profess to be pro-life, pro-family values and pro-Second Amendment.

They’ve reported raising some money — Adams, $36,850, and Arceneaux, $42,461 — much of it money they’ve loaned themselves.

But this otherwise quiet election has seen a recent influx of outside money driven by the Republican Party’s aim for a supermajority of 70 seats in the Louisiana House. The pro-school voucher group, Louisiana Federation For Children, has reported spending more than $25,000 in digital ads and mailers, attacking Adams and benefiting Arceneaux.

Republicans already won a supermajority in the state Senate on Oct. 12.

Adams and Arceneaux are both party-switchers and new to elective politics. They registered as Democrats as young men but changed their party registrations prior to qualifying. Adams said he changed to Independent so voters didn’t think he was beholden to a political party. Arceneaux said he changed to Republican to better reflect his current political views.

Adams said working in the store, which his family has owned for 70 years, instilled in him an ethic that people often need help to get by.

Arceneaux argued his years of work experience, particularly his 12 years running the technical college in Jackson, sets him apart from Adams. As he did at the technical college, Arceneaux wants the state to work more closely with business to improve services.

District 62, which has 30,807 registered voters, encompasses the bulk of East and West Feliciana parishes and reaches south to take in the northern half of Zachary. Fifty percent of the region is white and almost 38 percent is black. They tilt Republican in big elections. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump beat Clinton here by a 57 to 40% margin.

Adams was able to defy that tilt this spring when he first ran for the District 62 seat. He made it into a March 30 runoff and ended up defeating his Republican opponent, former East Feliciana Parish police juror Dennis Aucoin, by 396 votes.

He immediately went to work, serving in the 2019 regular legislative session.

Click here to see full election results from the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office.

Email Blake Paterson at bpaterson@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter @blakepater