Nov. 25, 2014 02:50 PM

After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl "Nickey" Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee's runoff bid to become Lafayette's next city marshal.

 

Earl "Nickey" PicardBrian Pope

After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl "Nickey" Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee's runoff bid to become Lafayette's next city marshal.

For Picard, Monday's endorsement is a one-eighty from his post-election day declaration that he wouldn't be endorsing or voting for either of the two candidates vying to take his place as city marshal, telling one local paper "I don't think either one of those two should be sitting in that chair. They haven't earned my vote."

Out of a field of four candidates, the 83-year-old Picard pulled only 24.29 percent of the vote on Nov. 4, marking the first re-election defeat in his 30 year tenure as city marshal.

Gathered inside the city marshal's office for Monday's press conference, Picard, according to this report by The Advocate, addressed his reasons for changing his mind about an endorsement in the runoff, saying "I got to thinking about this ... I think [the office] is in pretty good shape. I want it to stay that way."

Photo by Travis Gauthier
Kip Judice

Picard says his decision came after sitting down with Pope for about an hour to discuss the future of the office in a private meeting held a few days ago, marking the first time the two have met and talked since Pope unexpectedly vacated the job after taking a vacation back in January to prepare for his campaign.

"Brian convinced me that not much is going to change," Picard said during Monday's press conference. But, he's quick to add: "I'm going to be watching him."

For Pope's competition, longtime Lafayette Parish Sheriff's deputy Kip Judice, Picard's endorsement is immediately suspect. In a phone interview with The Advocate, Judice questions what kind of deal was made between the two: "What really motivated Mr. Picard to change his mind?"

Picard's change-of-heart comes as the Dec. 6 runoff between Pope and Judice grows increasingly more heated by the day. A recent candidate forum saw the two candidates trading barbs, with Judice calling Pope a "deadbeat dad" (read more on that here) who has failed to follow local campaign sign restrictions or the campaign finance reporting requirements of the Louisiana Board of Ethics. Pope hit back by bringing up Judice's employee file with the sheriff's office in which he was disciplined for driving a patrol unit after having tossed back a few beers (read that story here).