Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
Voters in St. Bernard elected that parish’s first female judge by a razor-thin margin Saturday, while voters in Orleans and Jefferson will see November runoffs for open seats on the Traffic Court and Magistrate bench, as well as a runoff for a Juvenile Court post.
In St. Bernard Parish, a remarkable 38 votes appeared to separate the two candidates for an open seat on the bench there. Complete but unofficial returns showed Jeanne Nunez Juneau earning 2,929 votes to candidate Kim Cooper Jones’ 2,891 votes. Assuming the results are certified, Juneau would replace retired Judge Manny Fernandez on the 34th Judicial District Court. With two female candidates, the race was guaranteed to put the parish's first woman on the parish court.
In the Orleans Traffic Court race, attorneys Steven Jupiter and Clint Smith appeared to be headed to a Nov. 16 runoff, to decide who will replace retired Judge Ronald Sholes. Jupiter and Smith were leading the field of eight candidates in Saturday’s election. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Jupiter had 6,036 votes, or 23 percent, to Smith’s 4,560, or 17 percent.
The race heated up in its final days, with mudslinging aimed at candidate Richard Perque, who finished third. Another candidate, Patrick Giraud, was ordered to stop running a TV campaign ad which a Civil Court judge ruled misrepresented his qualifications.
Candidates Harry Cantrell and Mark Vicknair will face off in the runoff for a post in Magistrate Court. The winner of the runoff will replace retired Judge Gerard Hansen. Final returns show Cantrell leading with 10,696 votes and Vicknair with 9,252 votes. The third candidate, former Judge Morris Reed, earned 5,516 votes.
In Jefferson Parish, prosecutor Barron Burmaster and attorney Zoe Fleming advanced to a November runoff. Burmaster earned 11,338 votes, or 41 percent, while Fleming pulled in 8,829 votes, or 32 percent. Candidates Stephen Petit and Connie Montgomery trailed. The winner will replace retiring Judge Nancy Amato Konrad, the longest-serving judge in Louisiana.