Brusly attorney Edmond Jordan bested veteran educator Vereta Lee in a runoff election for the House District 29 seat on Saturday, according to complete but unofficial returns from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.
Jordan captured 2,019 votes to 1,368 votes for Lee in the race for the seat that was left vacant after Ronnie Edwards died Feb. 24 of pancreatic cancer, just weeks after taking office. Both Jordan and Lee lost to Edwards last fall.
The final tally was 60 percent of the 3,387 total votes cast for Jordan to 40 percent for Lee. Overall voter turnout was light, only 12.3 percent, but was much higher in Jordan’s West Baton Rouge Parish stronghold than it was on Lee’s turf in East Baton Rouge.
“We did a lot of work throughout the district,” Jordan said Saturday night, adding he was thankful for the support he got from voters in both parishes.
Jordan will serve out the rest of Edward’s unexpired term, which ends in January 2020. District 29, overwhelmingly black and Democratic, stretches through north Baton Rouge and crosses the Mississippi River to include Port Allen and Brusly.
West Baton Rouge Parish voters delivered big for Jordan, where he got 85 percent of the 1,680 votes cast there, compared with 15 percent for Lee. Some 1,432 voters cast their votes for Jordan in West Baton Rouge, compared with 248 for Lee.
Lee dominated in East Baton Rouge Parish, taking 66 percent of the 1,707 votes cast there to 34 percent for Jordan. But voter turnout was much stronger in West Baton Rouge — 19.6 percent — more than double the 9 percent turnout in East Baton Rouge.
Jordan, 44, has spent 18 years as an attorney and has worked at several government agencies. Now in private practice, he focuses on personal injury, civil rights, consumer protection and corporate law. Jordan is also the co-owner of an insurance company and serves on several boards, including ones for a health care company, a financial institution and a charter school.
Jordan said he is focused on economic development and access to health care for north Baton Rouge and on resolving traffic problems for the capital area.
Jordan made it to Saturday’s runoff by leading a field of five candidates in an April 9 special election, all of them black Democrats.
Jordan had business backing, getting money from political action committees connected with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, as well as from Baton Rouge businessman Lane Grigsby.
Lee, by contrast, got strong support from labor unions, particularly teachers unions, as well as trial attorneys, all traditional sources of money for Democratic Party candidates.