JEFFERSON PARISH -- The founder of a failed effort to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni said he is launching a new anti-Yenni campaign.
Robert Evans III founded Recall Yenni last October, after WWL-TV exposed the parish president’s sexually explicit texts to a 17-year-old boy and the FBI investigation into the matter. He put about $120,000 into the effort to collect more than 90,000 signatures and trigger a recall election, according to campaign finance reports.
But the group only managed about 55,000 signatures in the six months allotted by law, Evans said. Meanwhile, Yenni defied calls from the parish council, the sheriff and most other public officials and civic groups to resign.
Evans blamed Recall Yenni’s failure on Louisiana law that requires a third of registered voters in a given district to sign a recall petition, which in Jefferson Parish amounted to nearly twice as many people than actually voted Yenni into office in 2015.
Evans was hoping to revive the recall campaign based on legislation to reduce the percentage of signatures needed in larger districts, but that bill failed in the State Legislature last month.
So, Evans sent a letter to select voters this week asking them to support a new campaign he is calling “Defeat Yenni.” He said it will target candidates who have aligned with Yenni in the past and build support for the campaign against Yenni himself if he seeks re-election in 2019.
“Some people can forget” the sexting scandal, Evans said. “Some people can get less angry. Then if he has his little group or clique that's in power … then it just increases his chances of the most incredible and embarrassing and bizarre re-election that Jefferson Parish would have ever experienced.”