Council challengers prevail

Rodney
Rodney "Smokie" Bourgeois

Attorney John Delgado, who outspent incumbent Smokie Bourgeois by nearly ten-to-one, saw his effort pay off Saturday when he won the runoff for the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council District 12 seat, according to complete but unofficial results from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website.

In the council’s District 2 runoff election, professional counselor Chauna Banks-Daniel cruised to victory over former Baker Councilman and Mayor Leroy Davis, according to the complete but unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s website.

Delgado earned 3,560 votes to Bourgeois’ 3,142. Turnout for the race was about 26 percent, far lower than the Nov. 6 primary when turnout was around 70 percent with a presidential and mayoral election on the ballot.

“I am very humbled and pleased by the outcome of the race,” Delgado said when reached by phone Saturday night.

Delgado, 38, aggressively campaigned against fellow Republican Bourgeois, calling him an “obstructionist” and accusing Bourgeois of accomplishing nothing during his single term.

Delgado backed his message with an extensive fundraising effort, estimating he spent close to $95,000 to win the seat.

The money was necessary to overcome Bourgeois’ incumbency, Delgado said.

“That work was 100 percent to get our message and ideas out to the voters,” he said. “I was an unknown entity.”

Bourgeois, known for his colorful comments at Metro Council meetings, has been well-known in Baton Rouge “from before I was born,” Delgado said.

Bourgeois said Saturday night he was “flattered” that Delgado spent that much to win the seat. Bourgeois said he spent about $10,000.

“He’s on four radio stations every day,” he said of Delgado’s advertising campaign.

Bourgeois thanked his supporters and said he would accept the defeat.

“I can live with that,” he said. “My wife said it would be good if I won, but better if I lost.”

Delgado’s campaign was nearly derailed in the primary when he barely finished ahead of Democrat Rose Carey, who spent less than $3,000 on her campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Louisiana Ethics Commission.

Delgado finished just 208 votes ahead of Carey in the primary, and both were well behind Bourgeois, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

District 12 includes Southdowns, Pollard Estates, Kenilworth and surrounding areas.

In the Metro Council District 2 race, Chauna Banks-Daniel carried her big lead from the Nov. 6 primary to a victory over Leroy Davis in the runoff, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Banks-Daniel earned 3,778 votes to Davis’ 1,498 Saturday, the website shows. Turnout in the district was about 24 percent.

Eight candidates qualified to run for the seat vacated by Ulysses “Bones” Addison, who is term-limited.

In the primary, Banks-Daniel led Davis by more than a two-to-one margin.

Banks-Daniel said after the primary she was focused on building her lead.

“I led in all precincts expect one,” she said.

That precinct was in Baker, and she reached out to voters in that area, she said.

Both candidates stressed their experience — Banks-Daniel as a community activist, Davis as a former public official in Baker.

Both said they were uniquely qualified to address one of District 2’s major issues — the lack of a major grocery store.

Davis insisted before Saturday that he had the momentum in the race. But he couldn’t overcome Banks-Daniel’s support from groups like BRAC’s FuturePac, he said.

“I couldn’t compete with her machine,” Davis said Saturday.

Banks-Daniel could not be reached for comment.

District 2 includes Scotlandville and parts of Baker.