Election Day spending: Perret pours it on, but Theall wins ROI

by Mike Stagg

Candyce Perret significantly outspent Susan Theall on March 25, but Theall got way more bang for her buck — garnering five votes to Perret’s .8 votes for every dollar spent.

On Election Day, Candyce Perret far outspent Susan Theall, whom she faces in the April 29 runoff.

Candyce Perret spent heavily on Election Day in what appears to have been an all-out attempt to score a primary win against her two opponents, Susan Theall and Vanessa Anseman, for a seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal.

Perret, who received 16,599 votes (41 percent) on March 25, will face Theall, who received 14,849 (37 percent), in the April 29 runoff election that will be held in Acadia, Allen, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes. Anseman received 9,058 votes (22 percent).

As has been the case throughout the campaign, Perret’s campaign spent more money on Election Day than her two opponents combined.

According to the Perret campaign’s Election Day Expenditures Report filed with the Ethics Administration’s Campaign Finance office, the Perret campaign spent $20,626 that day trying to get her supporters to the polls. Perret used robocalls, television and cable ads, and some radio ads as part of that process, but the bulk of her spending — $17,450 — went directly to campaign workers spread across the eight-parish district in an attempt to drum up turnout.

According to the Perret campaign’s report, no money was paid to campaign workers in Lafayette Parish on Election Day. All of the money was paid to operatives in outlying parishes where, with the exception of Acadia and Vermilion, turnout did not top 10 percent.

View Perret's Election Day expenditures here and Theall's here.

The Theall campaign reported spending $2,968, which included $30.50 on Facebook ads. Some of the money went to pay for food and soft drinks for campaign workers, but $1,961 was associated with her campaign party at the Homewood Suites.

Based solely on Election Day spending, the Theall campaign proved to be more efficient than the Perret campaign even as Candyce Perret continues to tout her experience as a small business owner, which she did as recently as a Tuesday morning interview on KPEL FM 96.5.

Final election totals and the Election Day expense reports show Perret’s campaign received .8 votes per dollar spent. Theall’s campaign, on the other hand, got five votes for every dollar spent.

A win in Lafayette Parish was critical for Theall, who led the field here with 6,644 votes (46 percent), followed by a close race for second and third place finishes between Perret, 4,181 votes (29 percent), and Anseman, 3,515 votes (25 percent).

On the day of the primary, District 43 State Rep. Stuart Bishop contributed $4,000 to the Perret campaign. That contribution was revealed in a separate report filed the Monday after the election.

After a low-profile week, the runoff campaign shows signs of picking up. Perret will be the featured guest on The Ross Report on KPEL at 2 p.m. Thursday. It could be an interesting encounter. Carol Ross, the program host, read the Walton County Sheriff’s Office 2004 arrest report of Gagnard Perret on the air prior to the primary.

Read more on The IND's recent legal action seeking to unseal three New Orleans lawsuits filed against Perret by her ex-fiancé, attorney John Houghtaling II, here.

On Wednesday of next week, both candidates are expected to appear at a forum hosted by the Louisiana Citizens Action Network at the Petroleum Club. The event begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. Members of the audience will be allowed to ask questions of the candidates, according to materials promoting the event. Admission, which includes lunch, is $25.