Race for Sheriff, parish president, heats up in St. Bernard

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 23, 2011 at 9:31 PM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News

ST. BERNARD - The day after a major election in St. Bernard political signs still cover the neutral ground on main thoroughfares. It's a parish known for its red hot politics. And almost every race is going to a runoff.

"Something's going on in St. Bernard," said Clancy DuBos, WWL-TV political analyst. "People are not happy with the status quo."

One of the closest races was for parish president- a big surprise to those outside the parish.

Incumbent Craig Taffaro won 44 percent of the vote, while former parish CAO Dave Peralta snagged 42 percent.

"I think people see what has happened, or I should say maybe what hasn't happened. Or, again, that there's a select few people that have benefited from the leadership there, and that's not what it's supposed to be about," said Peralta.

"A rule of politics is that you hit back, and unfortunately, our opposition took a very nasty and very negative based campaign and we'll clarify some of their misrepresentations over the next four weeks and set the record straight," said Taffaro.

And then there's the hotly contested Sheriff's race, in which two candidates are now fighting it out to become the first new Sheriff elected in nearly 30 years.

Current Chief Deputy Jimmy Pohlmann won 45 percent of the vote, while St. Bernard Councilman Wayne Landry won 30 percent.

But political analysts say the outcome of the primary election doesn't necessarily predict who will come out on top in the runoff. And both candidates are back at the starting line in what has been, at times, an ugly race.

"We were talking about a dark cloud that's over St. Bernard, full of deceit, full of greed, from the power brokers that actually hold that stranglehold on the Sheriff's office," said Wayne Landry from his campaign headquarters Saturday night.

"What we're going to do, we're going to answer some of these questions that's lingering out there clearly, then we're going to introduce people to Mr. Wayne Landry, we're going to tell people the kind of guy he is and the kind of business he runs," said Pohlmann.

"It's the political equivalent of the wild West, it's untamed in a lot of ways," said DuBos. "Makes it a lot of fun to watch."

And for the next four weeks, those who love politics will be watching St. Bernard.

The runoff election will be held November 19th.

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