Both of the labor-backed candidates for Jefferson Parish School Board won their races Saturday, scoring a victory for the teachers’ union and a setback for business groups, whose candidates had enjoyed a majority for the last four years.
The victories of Melinda Doucet and Rickey Johnson give the union a 5-3 majority among the eight members backed by one interest group or the other. District 1 member Mark Morgan, who won after his challenger withdrew, is not aligned with either and has often acted as a swing vote.
The election was closely watched as something of a referendum on the last four years, when the business-backed majority enjoyed a majority on the board. The actions the slate took included scrapping the teachers’ union contract and the closure of several schools. Business-backed candidates tended to support Superintendant James Meza, who is stepping down.
Doucet won 52 percent of the vote to incumbent Mark Jacobs’ 48 percent in District 7, with all 33 precincts reporting, according to unofficial returns from the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Johnson won 54 percent of the vote to challenger Rickeem Jackson’s 46 percent.
The business groups involved in the race included members of the Jefferson Business Council and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, while the labor-backed candidates had the support of the Jefferson Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.
Jacobs and Doucet each got about 45 percent of the vote in the Nov. 4 primary.
Johnson got 38 percent of the vote in the Nov. 4 primary to Jackson’s 34 percent.
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