The race for the 18th District State Representative seat garnered the highest voter turnout of all seven districts up for grabs in the Saturday, Feb. 23 special election. It is also one of two districts headed to a runoff on March 30.
Jeremy LaCombe, a New Roads attorney and businessman, nearly swept the election with 43 percent of the votes, according to the Secretary of State website. Tammi Fabre, a Pointe Coupee real estate broker, made it to the runoff with 23 percent of the votes.
NaTashia Carter Benoit lost the race to the runoff to Fabre by one percent or 109 votes.
The remaining candidates, Gary “Sprout” Spillman, Jason Lee Fowler, Jr. and Bill Spencer each earned single-digit percentages of votes in the district comprised of the entirety of Pointe Coupee Parish and parts of Iberville, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes. The district’s voter turnout of 28.2 percent was the highest of all seven regions in the election.
While LaCombe maintained a 20 percent lead over Fabre in the district, the race was much closer in each parish. LaCombe earned the most votes only in Pointe Coupee Parish, a majority of the district, claiming second in most other parishes, but it proved enough to propel him ahead.
In West Baton Rouge, Fabre led with 26 percent, and Benoit trailed her by just two percent. Lacombe tied with Spillman for 22 percent of the votes from West Baton Rouge.
Benoit cinched 68 percent of the votes in Iberville Parish, while Lacombe trailed her with 19 percent and the remaining candidates earned single-digit percentages. The landslide win in Iberville Parish was not enough to push Benoit to the run-off election.
Fabre claimed the most votes in West Feliciana with 31 percent, and LaCombe trailed her by six percent.
LaCombe was the clear winner in Pointe Coupee, earning 52 percent of the votes, more than double the number of votes Fabre collected, the candidate with the next highest number of votes in the parish.
LaCombe, a Democrat, has focused his campaign on improving the economy, fixing infrastructure and traffic woes, and improving educational opportunities.
Fabre, a Republican, is focused on “real reform,” with less regulation, less taxes, and less government.
District 62, which encompasses parts of East Baton Rouge and East and West Feliciana, will also go to a run-off, which will be between Roy Daryl Adams and Dennis Aucoin.
The runoff election will be held Saturday, March 30.