Candidates face their pasts in Court of Appeal race

By Glenn Minnis | Apr 5, 2017

LAKE CHARLES, La. — Candyce Perret and Susan Theall are set to face off in the April 29 runoff for Louisiana's 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, Division B.

The two are vying to replace Jimmy Genovese, who last fall won election to state Supreme Court. The winner will earn the right to serve out the remaining eight years of his 10-year term on the state's biggest circuit court, The Vermillion reported.

With all but one of 530 precincts reporting, Perret topped all voters in voting on March 25, registering 16,597 votes to Theall’s 14,849, according to the Daily Advertiser. Vanessa Waguespack Anseman garnered 9,058 votes.

Perret and Theall start the final phase of their campaigns facing questions about past indiscretions.

Back in 2004, Perret was arrested in Florida on a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure on a beach. The Indianapolis Star reported that she ultimately took a pre-trial diversion route and paid court costs, leading to the case being dismissed. Throughout her campaign, Perret has insisted she was wrongly fingered as the culprit and only took the deal because she lived far away from where court proceedings were being held.

Meanwhile, Theall still faces questions about a loan she took out during a 2011 campaign run for judge. She has dismissed any accusation of wrongdoing.

As for the race to replace Genovese, Perret contends her experience as a private litigator, city prosecutor and as counsel for her family businesses make her the most well-rounded and qualified of the two candidates still on the ballot. She added that she plans to quell earlier criticisms about not appearing at forums where other candidates were featured y doing so throughout the runoff phase of the race.

“I am only candidate with actual experience at the appellate level, and my legal background separates me from my opponent,” Perret told the Louisiana Record. “I’ve handled all sorts of cases, matters that actually come before court.”

The fact that so many supporters have rallied around her during her first time on the ballot also serves as a source of pride for Perret.

“This is my opponent’s fourth time running,” she said. “The fact that I’ve gained the name recognition I have so quickly is humbling. I’m proud to have the support of so many other attorneys, business leaders and law-enforcement officials. It’s a testament to what I’ve made my campaign about.”

Even with that, Theall insists she likes her chances. She pointed to the fact that Perret spent nearly a half-million dollars in early campaigning against her roughly $100,000.

Theall also seems convinced that she is poised to capture most of the votes that went to Anseman, though Perret counters she doesn’t see that vision coming to fruition.

“I bring a balance and level of diversity no one else does,” she said.

Throughout her campaign, Anseman was also dogged by controversy that centered around criticisms she did not have the requisite and state-mandated experience to even be considered for a spot on the appellate court. At one point, she was removed from the ballot following a judge’s ruling, only to be restored after a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal ruling.

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