Mayor files contest

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 27, 2007

VidalIa — The Seventh District Judicial Court will decide if two candidates in the Ferriday mayoral election are valid candidates.

Incumbent Mayor Gene Allen filed petitions contesting the candidacy of mayoral contenders Justin Conner and Alex Promise late Friday afternoon, and after opening the hearing Wednesday morning Judge Kathy Johnson continued the matter until 10 a.m. Monday.

Allen contends Conner did not properly file his notice of candidacy, and that Promise does not reside where he said he does when he filed his notice.

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Conner filed his notice of candidacy through an agent.

“In my appreciation of the law, he did not sign his qualifying papers,” Allen said. “He had an agent to act, and that is not the way that you qualify.”

The notice of candidacy filed on Conner’s behalf is signed “Justin Conner by Rhonda Dixon.”

The Concordia Parish Clerk of Court’s office has a notarized affidavit signed by Conner allowing Dixon to act as his agent.

A notation at the bottom of the document says it was approved by the attorney general.

Chief Deputy Clerk of Court Becky Zerby said the affidavit form was provided by the Secretary of State’s office, but it is up to the court to decide if it was properly filed.

Conner said he filed the through an agent because he had a previously scheduled engagement that did not allow him to be in town for qualifying.

Conner has suspicions Allen wants him out of the race because he will be a popular candidate, Conner said.

“I was asked to run by the community, and I am going to run off of being a community leader,” he said. “I guess he just feels like if he could remove me from the race he could be a shoe-in. He looked at my numbers from Ferriday in the Clerk of Court race and saw how many votes I got.”

Allen said he is confident that he is on firm legal ground.

“If my appreciation of the law — and I stress that this is my appreciation — is correct, then I am going to be right, I am sure,” Allen said.

Promise, who filed his residence with the Secretary of State’s office as 601 Fifth St., could not be reached for comment.