BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With an estimated 12.5 percent of voters casting a ballot, Louisiana broke a record Saturday. It's the lowest turnout election in state history, according to the Secretary of State's office.
Topping the ticket was the special election to replace John Kennedy as state treasurer. In that race, Republican John Schroder from Covington got 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State's office.
"As a former state legislator, I did not always take the most popular positions on some of the tough fiscal decisions that troubled the legislature," he said, speaking before a crowd of a few dozen gathered in a Baton Rouge hotel. "As your state treasurer, I'm going to continue to uphold those same values of looking out for the people."
Schroder beat New Orleans Democrat Derrick Edwards, who did little in the way of fundraising or advertising. He did, however, get a last-minute round of support from former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who did an election day robocall on his behalf. Edwards got 44 percent of the vote statewide.
In East Baton Rouge, Schroder bested Edwards with 55 percent of the vote. EBR voted in support of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race and Democrat John Bel Edwards in the 2015 gubernatorial election.
Meanwhile, the second time was the charm for a 2 percent boost to the hotel occupancy tax in most of EBR. It passed with 61 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results from the Secretary of State's office. A similar measure failed on the ballot last year by a slim margin.
Paul J. Arrigo, CDME, president & CEO of Visit Baton Rouge says on the second go-around it was important for voters to understand the impact of this tax.
"We went into this knowing that we needed to do a better job of educating and informing voters about this type of tax and the impacts generated for the community," Arrigo says. "Tonight's results show that we were able to achieve that. Thank you."
The tax will be paid by those who state in hotel rooms across the parish, excluding those in Baker, Central, Zachary, and parts of North Baton Rouge. Half of the money generated will go to the Raising Cane's River Center for facility improvements and repairs. The other half will go to Visit Baton Rouge for their marketing initiatives.
Visit Baton Rouge informed voters that, if passed, the tax would have generated an estimated $2.6 million annually and would have been evenly split between the tourism agency and the Raising Cane's River Center.
"The passing of this proposition will start the process of improving the Parish's main facility for Entertainment and Enrichment for all our citizens and visitors. We are excited to begin the work to bring the Raising Cane's River Center up to the current standards that we all want to enjoy. The passage of this proposition is a victory for tourism, jobs, and ultimately for our local economy," says Michael Day, general manager of Raising Cane's River Center.
In the Baton Rouge City Judge race, Republican Judy Moore Vendetto – sister of Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore – won with 52 percent of the vote. She beat out her opponent Republican Chris Hester by less than 500 votes, according to unofficial returns.
Down in New Orleans, voters made history, electing the first ever female mayor in the city's 300 years. City Councilmember LaToya Cantrell beat out former Judge Desiree Charbonnet by a 20 percent margin, according to unofficial results.
For full election results click here.