In choosing a replacement for disgraced coroner Peter Galvan, St. Tammany voters will decide between the current mental health director for the coroner’s office and an emergency room physician, as both led the field of four candidates in Saturday’s special election.
Complete but unofficial returns show Leanne Truehart, a Mandeville psychiatrist who is current mental health director for the office, led the pack with 30 percent of the vote. Doctor Charles Preston, an emergency room physician from Slidell, came in second, with 27 percent of the vote. He edged Dr. Adrian Talbot into third place, with 25 percent. Slidell gynecologist Rob Muller was in fourth place with 18 percent of the vote.
The winner of the May 3 runoff will fill the remainder of the term formerly held by Peter Galvan, who was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $193,388 in restitution for using the coroner’s office for his own personal gain. He pleaded guilty in October to federal corruption charges.
Prior to Saturday’s vote, Eyewitness News political analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos said integrity would matter most to voters choosing Galvan’s replacement.
"Someone who's just going to put his or her nose to the grindstone, do the job, be accountable, be transparent and frankly restore public confidence in the office," he said.
In interviews with Eyewitness News Northshore Bureau Chief Ashley Rodrigue last week, Muller touted his past experience in law enforcement and coroner's office positions, while Preston pointed out his years of work in emergency situations. Truehart said she should get the job because of her involvement with the parish's mental health issues. Talbot said his public service in the military and community makes him best to serve as coroner.
Click here for results in other St. Tammany elections, including Slidell City Council races.