Former parish president giving 'serious consideration' to running for sheriff

JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Former Jefferson Parish President John Young is considering a run to replace Sheriff Newell Normand.

"Several of my supporters have encouraged me to run, and I'm giving it serious consideration," Young said Tuesday.

Young is the first prominent political figure to hint at running in a likely special election next spring.

During Normand's retirement announcement, the sheriff announced former state Rep. Joe Lopinto as the interim sheriff and gave his support to Lopinto to be his permanent replacement.

"I beg of the citizens of Jefferson Parish to give Joe every deference that they gave me and to trust in my judgment that he would be the man who would lead us into the future," Normand said.

"Jefferson Parish has had a very organized political structure. When an elder statesmen is stepping down from a post, they typically pass the baton to a successor," FOX 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman said.

Sherman believes Normand's popularity among Jefferson Parish residents makes Lopinto the favorite, and he pointed to history as to whom the permanent replacement may be.

The late Sheriff Harry Lee handpicked Normand as his replacement.

"Joe Lopinto will likely be the front-runner when he enters that race, but an open seat is a big thing especially for the most powerful post in the parish. We might see a few other folks jump in this race," Sherman said.

Lopinto was a Jefferson Parish Sheriff patrolmen before his nine years as the representative for District 80 in Metairie. Lopinto recently returned to the department as deputy chief.

"The reality of it is is this place leads itself. My job and [Sheriff Normand's] job is sit back and support them, and that's what I've tried to do being back over a year now," Lopinto said. "Obviously, I didn't expect him to leave when he did. Now, I've been thrown into the deep end, and I have to swim. That's what I will try to do."

Normand will vacate the position on Aug. 31.

He was offered a job from WWL Radio to take over for Garland Robinette, a former television anchorman and radio personality in New Orleans on Sept. 11.

A spokeswoman with the Secretary of State's office said the Jefferson Parish Council will decide when to hold the election to find a permanent replacement.

Tuesday, Normand suggested that qualifying for that election will begin in January.

If that happens, the primary would held March 24.

The general election date would be April 28.

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