LOCAL

Patterson wins School Board race; Iberville backs Melancon, picks Fayard over Dardenne

Staff reports

Complete returns showed Donald Ray Patterson the winner of the Maringouin-area run-off for Iberville Parish School Board District A, returns from Tuesday's general election showed.

Patterson, a postal worker and pastor, defeated insurance businesswoman Karen “Kay” Jewell by a 116-vote margin to claim the 15th School Board seat. The vote was 505 (56%) votes to 389 (44%).

In the only other local race, incumbent Edward James Jr. beat John E. Carriere by a 21-vote margin for the fifth seat on the Maringouin Board of Aldermen.

North Iberville voters, angry over the closure of their high school last year, ousted both their incumbent board members and elected first-time candidates. Stanley Washington of Maringouin lost bid for a second term in the primary and endorsed Patterson. Grosse Tete Municipal Clerk Pamela George defeated three-term incumbent David J. “Worm” Daigle Jr. in the primary.

The 13 other incumbents previously elected will return the board for the new term that starts in January. The new board will have to reapportion its districts based on the 2000 Census results – and cut the number of members to nine.

Despite rain, nearly 50% the parish's 21,000 registered voters turned out, Clerk of Court J. G. “Bubbie” Dupont Jr. said.  Statewide, the turnout was around 46 percent.

In the two statewide races, Iberville Parish voters favored first-time Democratic candidate Caroline Fayard over Republican Secretary of State Jay Dardenne by a 1,176-vote margin in the special election for lieutenant governor, and Democratic Third District Congressman Charlie Melancon over Republican incumbent David Vitter by a 1,792-vote margin in the U. S. Senate race.

Dardenne and Vitter won statewide, each claiming 57% of the vote.

Fifth District Congressman Rodney Alexander and Sixth District Congressman William “Bill” Cassidy, both Republican incumbents, won in Iberville over their low-profile challengers, but by slimmer margins than they did throughout the two districts.

Iberville voters approved seven of the 10 proposed state constitutional amendments, including one to increase the parish's share of state severance tax revenues for local infrastructure and Atchafalaya Basin improvement projects. Statewide, voters accepted eight of the 10.

Here and statewide, voters rejected the two most complicated amendments on the ballot – Amendment No. 4 affecting property tax “roll-up” procedures in some areas and Amendment No. 7 changing the bidding rules for tax sale auctions and allowing additional penalties.

Iberville voters also rejected Amendment No. 8 that would have made it easier to expropriate property seized to remove a threat to public health and safety.