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St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta Facing 6 Challengers

There are several key local races on Saturday's ballot. Here's a look at the contest for St. Bernard Parish president.

Dave Peralta is facing six challengers in his bid for re-election as St. Bernard Parish president. And it’s not his only battle.

Reporter Richard Thompson covers the parish for the New Orleans Advocate. And he’s monitoring several court cases involving Peralta.

“Currently what he’s facing is a stalking charge in St. Tammany Parish against ex-wife as well as a number of campaign-finance counts and perjury counts in Baton Rouge," he said. "And then more recently he was charged in a lengthy 22-count indictment in St. Bernard,  which includes allegations of malfeasance in office and abuse of power.”  

When those cases began in April 2014, several members of the parish council called for him to resign. He didn’t. They were made again, and he refused.

His six challengers say they can better represent the parish, and focus on specific issues.

“Half of the candidates are presenting themselves as outsiders who are ready to turn the page. And the others are saying, ‘Well, we were here before and things were better and we’re who you need to be able to lead it.’ But the big issues I think right now facing it are trying to improve the parish’s water supply," Thompson  said. "They’ve had an issue with a rare brain-eating amoeba that had killed a young boy there n 2013 and then turned up again in the water this summer. And also last year residents has rejected a slate of about $10 million in tax renewals that are key to funding services like fire protection, garbage, libraries and recreation. And so all of the candidates agree that that needs to be put back on.” 

University of New Orleans political science professor Ed Chervenak says it’s difficult to predict an outcome for the race.

“It’s really hard to get in and find out what’s going on down there, unless you’re from there or you’re related to someone down there," Chervenak said. "I’m really surprised that Mr. Peralta has been able to raise some money so obviously there are people there who feel he’s doing a good job and want him to continue as parish president.”   

Thompson says he’s almost certain there will be a runoff, and for former council members to do well.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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