With Newell Normand's surprise announcement Tuesday that he will retire next month as Jefferson Parish sheriff to take a gig as a talk show host at WWL Radio, possible candidates for the powerful position are already eyeing the office.
The man tapped by Normand to take over as interim sheriff, Deputy Chief Joe Lopinto, already said he'll be a candidate in the spring special election.
And though Normand’s endorsement of his preferred successor carries weight, a big name could be on the ballot to challenge him.
Former Parish President John Young told WWL-TV many of his supporters have encouraged him to run. “And I’m certainly considering it. I definitely have the administrative experience that the job requires.”
Young chose not to seek reelection as parish president in 2015, instead launching an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor. He said his time as a prosecutor and leader of the parish make him qualified for the job. He is now in private law practice.
Jefferson Parish Chief Operating Officer Keith Conley also hinted he might be a possible candidate. He was more bullish and said he is “definitely interested."
“I think it would be a perfect fit for my skill set,” he said. “I have 20 years of law enforcement experience in addition to being an attorney and now chief operating officer of Jefferson Parish. I’m excited for the opportunity, and I’m strongly considering it.”
Conley is a former Kenner City Council member and JPSO vice squad officer.
One other big name, At-Large Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, all but ruled out a run for the job once occupied by her father, the late Harry Lee. She said she is devoted to her council job.
The parish council has 20 days after Normand's retirement on Aug. 31 to call a special election to fill the remainder of his term. That would set the primary for March 24. A runoff would be April 28, if necessary.