Port Allen voters choose Lee as new mayor
PORT ALLEN (AP) — Retired law enforcement officer Richard Lee III is Port Allen’s new mayor.
Lee thwarted former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter’s attempt to reclaim the city’s mayoral seat, getting 58 percent of the vote Saturday in the city’s special election following Slaughter’s recall from office.
According to unofficial results, Lee pulled 1,395 votes, compared to Slaughter, who received 786 votes, or 33 percent of the vote. The remaining two candidates, Kirby Anderson and Larry Bell, captured 214 and 20 votes, respectively.
Voter turnout was 60 percent.
Lee, 54, said he intends to get to work immediately on Monday by sitting down individually with each City Council member and with administration officials.
“I want to tell them what my vision is and tell them we need to be leaders in the community and there not be this division,” he said of the political and racial divide that has beset the city. “In order to get things done we have to be one to move the city forward.”
Meg Casper, a spokeswoman with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office, says the earliest Lee can take office is April 15. The other candidates have 10 days from the election to contest the results. That deadline is 4:30 p.m. April 14.
Lee retired as a lieutenant after 33 years with the Port Allen and Baton Rouge police departments.
When he announced his candidacy, Lee pledged to establish an agenda of cooperation and collaboration. Lee said he’d like to establish a community group called One Port Allen to begin the city’s healing process.
He entered the campaign on the momentum of a nominating petition containing more than 200 signatures of registered voters.
“They knew I was a trustworthy and fair person,” he said. “I can work with everyone no matter their race or color — that’s the key.”
Meanwhile, an investigation by the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office into possible early voter fraud still looms, as does a complaint filed by Slaughter supporters with the U.S. Department of Justice alleging the voter fraud investigation was nothing more than a drive to intimidate voters.
The Sheriff’s Office on March 27 launched its probe after receiving hundreds of complaints that mail-in and faxed requests for early voting ballots did not match voter information on file with the parish Registrar of Voters Office.
Slaughter’s attorney filed a complaint April 2 with the Justice Department seeking an investigation into alleged voter intimidation and suppression through the Sheriff’s Office investigation.
Officials have not yet indicated if Slaughter’s complaint or the Sheriff’s Office investigation would affect the results.
Slaughter would not comment on either matter after the election, but thanked her supporters.
“We fought the good fight,” she said. “I really don’t know what I’m going to do now. Eventually I’ll make a decision, but I don’t really know at this time.”