Steady traffic through Gonzales Memorial VFW Post 3693, group’s seeking the recall of six Ascension Council members collected signatures and contributions raised through the sale of jambalaya on Sunday. While none have publicized the number of signatures collected to date, each claimed a steadfast commitment to the effort while conceding the difficulty in compiling the requisite number, 33.3% of all qualified electors in each respective district.
First to file was the Recall of Teri Casso in the third week of July, with 180 days to complete the herculean task by mid-January 2022. As of July 1 Ascension’s Registrar of Voters put the number of “Active Registered Voters” in Casso’s District 8 at 7,036 meaning 2,343 verified signatures would be needed to trigger a recall election. Putting that into context, only 2,332 voters (39.6%) bothered to cast a ballot the last time Casso faced a competitive election on October 24, 2015 (she was unopposed in 2019).
Next to file was the Recall Corey Orgeron petition a few days later. 2,544 of District 4’s 7,641 voters (according to the Registrar) must sign to trigger a recall election against the first-term council member. Orgeron won a decisive victory on October 24, 2019 with 2,087 of the total votes cast, 3,461. If every one of the 1,374 votes for Orgeron’s opponent signed the recall petition another 1,200 signatures would still be needed.
NOTE: 2019 saw a significantly higher voter turnout across-the-board from 2015 for a variety of reasons; none more pronounced than the opening of a new early voting location at Oak Grove Community Center.
In District 5 fifth-term Councilman Dempsey Lambert squeaked out a victory, winning by 39 votes in an election which saw 3,599 votes (44.9% turnout) cast in 2019. The most populous of 11 districts, it will take 2,851 verified signatures to set a recall election against Lambert. 1,780 voters favored his opponent two years ago.
Second-term member Aaron Lawler won re-election in 2019 when 53% of the electorate showed up at the polls for the November 21, 2019 runoff. Garnering 63% of the vote, 1,596 electors still went for Lawler’s opponent (out of 4,311 total votes cast). It will take 2,806 signatures on the Recall Aaron Lawler petition to trigger an election.
The penultimate recall petition was filed against two-termer, John Cagnolatti, which will need 2,170 signatures to require a recall election. His opponent was able to muster only 896 votes in 2019 when Cagnolatti garnered 69% of the vote (1,955 out of the 2,851 total when turnout was 47.1%).
Dal Waguespack won election to the District 9 council seat with 61% of the vote against Ascension’s longest serving member. With a 46.6% turnout, Waguespack registered 1,845 votes out of the 3,035 total. To effectuate a recall election against Waguespack requires 2,274 signatures since the Registrar put the total Active Registered Voters at 6,829. Waguespack’s opponent received 1,190 votes.