ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - There were hints that Murphy Painter might drop out of the race for Ascension Parish president, and that’s just what he did Monday, Oct. 21.
Painter confirmed to WAFB by phone that he dropped out of the race for parish president, but didn’t elaborate on his decision. He told WAFB a statement is coming soon.
That means Clint Cointment is the new parish president-elect.
Cointment wouldn’t go on camera for an interview Monday night regarding Painter dropping out, however, his campaign says he spent Monday evening “with his family and a core group of supporters.”
A number of residents WAFB spoke with were either shocked or had no idea about the news.
“I follow certain pages like WAFB, and it pushed to my phone saying that that was the new and up-and-coming story, that [Painter] was backing out,” said Dillon Randazzo, a resident of Ascension Parish.
“Other than the next person in line, I hope they have all their ducks in a row so they’ll be able to run and not have to worry about things in the future, that they should’ve told people about in the first place,” said Tony Zieto, another resident living in Ascension Parish.
Cointment came up just 117 votes short in the 2015 race against Kenny Matassa, who didn’t seek re-election after being indicted, tried, and acquitted on corruption charges.
“I heard the news that a candidate was dropping out last minute, and I thought it was a little suspicious,” said Shemika Blake, an Ascension Parish resident.
Just days before Painter dropped out of the race, The Pelican Post dropped an audio bombshell.
It alleged Murphy Painter’s voice was on a recording discussing multiple cover-ups with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, where painter worked more than two decades ago. Painter denied the allegations and said he was long gone from the sheriff’s office when the alleged incidents took place.
However, Ascension Parish District Attorney Rick Babin says he plans to present the case to a grand jury. Cointment spent Monday with family and core supporters who “worked so hard for so long and believed so firmly in what we want to accomplish for Ascension Parish,” according to his campaign.
When WAFB gets a statement from Painter, we’ll be sure to post it on our 9News app and website.
Cointment will take office in January of 2020.