McDonald wins; Theriot on appellate court

Judge Mike McDonald was easily re-elected Saturday to the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal while former state Rep. Mitch Theriot won a seat on the Baton Rouge-based appellate court, according to complete but unofficial returns from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.

McDonald, a 66-year-old Republican from Baton Rouge, defeated Baton Rouge lawyer and Democrat Gideon Carter III, 57, in a runoff election. McDonald collected 28,958 votes, or 61.5 percent, to Carter’s 18,126 votes, or 38.5 percent.

Theriot, a 49-year-old Republican from Raceland, beat state District Judge William Dupont, a 61-year-old Democrat from Plaquemine, in a runoff for a soon-to-be-vacated seat on the 1st Circuit. Theriot garnered 25,793 votes, or 53 percent, to Dupont’s 22,783 votes, or 47 percent.

McDonald and Theriot both earned 10-year terms on the court.

McDonald, who has served on the 1st Circuit since 2003, narrowly missed winning re-election in the Nov. 6 primary, receiving 49 percent of the votes cast to Carter’s 31 percent. State District Judge Trudy White, a Baton Rouge Republican, picked up the remaining 20 percent of the votes cast in the primary and missed the runoff.

Voter turnout in the McDonald-Carter runoff was about 20 percent; turnout in the primary was nearly 73 percent.

Theriot, who served in the state Legislature from 1992 to 2000 as a Democrat, placed second in the November primary, collecting 34 percent of the vote to Dupont’s 38 percent.

Voter turnout in the Theriot-Dupont runoff was less than 20 percent; turnout in the primary was 71 percent.

McDonald touted his 26 years of judicial experience during the campaign, including 16 years on the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge. He stressed that the law and the Constitution have guided his rulings, and he provides justice that is “fair and consistent.”

Theriot ran unsuccessfully for an open seat on the 1st Circuit in 1998. He has practiced law for 25 years and serves as an appointed municipal court magistrate in the Lafourche Parish towns of Golden Meadow and Lockport.

Dupont has served as an 18th Judicial District Court judge for the past eight years.

The 1st Circuit seat that McDonald retained — 2nd District, Subdistrict 1, Division B — encompasses a large portion of East Baton Rouge, including the southern and southeastern parts of the parish, Central, Zachary and Baker.

The 1st Circuit seat that Theriot won — 1st District, Division B — is held by Circuit Judge Edward “Jimmy” Gaidry, of Houma, who is retiring at year’s end. The district covers the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, Lafourche, Pointe Coupee, St. Mary, Terrebonne and West Baton Rouge.