Vitter, Melancon top vote-getters in primary

Deidre Cruse, Governmental Reporter

Melancon, Vitter are lead

vote-getters here, statewide

Voter turnout was extremely light in Saturday's party primary elections won by Democrat U. S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, Republican incumbent U. S. Sen. David Vitter and Libertarian Randall Todd Hayes in the race for U. S. Senate.

The three party winners face nine other or no party candidates in the November 2 general election.

Incumbent Republican U. S. Rep. Rodney Alexander of Quitman easily swept Tea Party advocate Todd Slavant of Monroe to win his party's nomination in the 5th Congressional District race. Alexander will face no party candidate Tom Gibbs Jr. of Fairbanks in the general election.

The returns reported here are complete, but unofficial as reported to the state by the Iberville Clerk of Court's Office.

Parish wide, votes totaled 1,684, roughly 7.9 percent of the 21,105 voters eligible to vote in this election. The total included 15,651 Democrats, 2,633 Republicans and 2,821 other or no party candidates, according to the Iberville Voter Registrar's Office. Louisiana Secretary of State's Office records showed 15 of the other party voters registered here are Libertarians.

Congressman Mel ancon of Napoleonville, who represents the 3rd District, proved the biggest draw of any candidate on the ballot in Iberville Parish. He took 1,031, or 78 percent, of the 1,316 votes cast in the Democratic primary. Retired postal worker Nelson J. Chauvin of Carencro won 204 votes (16 percent), and Metairie attorney Cary J. Deaton, 81 votes (six percent)

Statewide, Mel ancon received 77,702 votes (71 percent), to 19,507 (18 percent) for Chauvin and 12,842 (12 percent) for Deaton.

The Libertarian Party's primary, its first ever on a Louisiana ballot, drew only 10 local voters – three voting for Hayes and seven for Anthony Gentile of Mandeville. Statewide, Hayes won 1,529 votes (62 percent) to 950 (38 percent) for Gentile.

Senator Vitter won 314 (88 percent) of the 358 votes cast here in the Republican primary. Franklin physician Nick J. Accord received 29 votes (eight percent), and retired Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Chet D. Traylor of Monroe, a late entry in the race, received 15 votes (four percent).

Statewide, Vitter received 85,179 votes (88 percent) to 6,838 (seven percent) for Traylor and 5,221 (five percent) for Accord.

The vote was Vitter's first since his name showed up on the client list of a Washington prostitution ring and he acknowledged committing a “serious sin.”

Some 13.5 percent of local registered Republicans voted in the senatorial primary, compared to 12.9 percent statewide.

In the congressional primary, Alexander won 102 (84 percent) of the Republican vote here, to 20 votes (16 percent) for Savant. The 5th District includes 21 Iberville voting precincts with 1,099 registered Republicans.

District wide, Alexander received 14,030 votes (89 percent) to 1,743 (11 percent) for Savant. The district includes 107,852 registered Republicans.

Democrats and other or no party voters could vote in the Democratic