Lafayette Parish president’s race heats up

More than two years before the fall 2015 election to replace Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel, the race seems to be heating up a bit.

Lafayette City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley has pulled in $53,250 in campaign contributions for the race to fill his boss’s seat, according to recent campaign finance report filings with the state.

“I have intentions to run,” Stanley said.

Durel is serving his third and final four-year term, and several other potential candidates have expressed an interest in the post, including at least three City-Parish Council members.

Councilmen Don Bertrand, Jay Castille and Kenneth Boudreaux said they are considering the race but have yet to make a decision.

All three said they have not started fundraising, but Boudreaux said supporters have made financial commitments should he decide to run.

“I feel comfortable that if I was to make that announcement, financially, I would be sound,” he said.

Boudreaux added that, considering that there will be no incumbent advantage, the race for city-parish president seems to be “wide open.”

State Rep. Joel Robideaux, who last year said he had an interest in the seat, could not be reached for comment, but former state Rep. Don Bacque, who once expressed an interest, now says he likely will sit out of the race.

“I started thinking that it was crazy of me to even think about it,” Bacque said. “My wife reminded me that it would be difficult to have a full-time job again.”

Although, he added, “You never say never.”

But Bacque pointed to another possible candidate — Jan Swift, a well-known figure in the community who serves as executive director of the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation.

“In my heart and soul, I think that Lafayette is ready for a lady chief executive,” Bacque said.

Swift said she has been encouraged by others to run but it’s a too early to seriously consider the race.

“It is something I’ve been tumbling around in my head, and I’m really just watching with interest,” she said. “I’m curious to hear what their (other candidates’) vision is.”

Stanley, who has served as chief administrative officer since Durel took office in 2004, said he has not been actively fundraising and considers his current job his “absolute priority.”

“I have not held a fundraiser and do not intend to hold a fundraiser,” Stanley said when asked about the campaign contributions. “... The way that has happened is that I’ve been approached by people inside the community.”

Most of those contributions have come in big chunks, ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, from a group of well-known business leaders and businesses, including Acadiana Ambulance CEO Richard Zuschlag, C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates, Agave Cantina and James Poche, according to the campaign finance filings.