Raymond Crews and Robbie Gatti are headed to a runoff in state House District 8 on April 29 to fill  the seat left vacant when Mike Johnson was elected  to Congress.  Both are Republicans.

Crews came in first with 41% of the vote, followed by Gatti with 37%..  Two other candidates in the race were Duke Lowrie, who finished with 16%, and Patrick Harrington, who had 6%.

Crews came in first with 41% of the vote, followed by Gatti with 37%. Voter turnout in the District was 17.9%.

Crews is new to the political scene.  He served  for 17 years in the Air Force, flying combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.  After leaving the Air Force, he flew for national airline companies and later started a small business in Bossier City.

His candidacy was helped by the fact that he was endorsed by NORTHPAC, a Political Action Committee of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

Gatti is the brother of state Sen. Ryan Gatti.  He is a small businessman, physical therapist, and serviceman.  He is also a church, civic, and community leader and has operated Vivian Physical Therapy since 1998.

Gatti is endorsed by the American Physical Therapist Association and Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker.

It is not know yet whether Lowrie or Harrington will endorse one of the candidates for the runoff, which is expected to be a close race.

Both candidates said they are prepared and ready to start campaigning for the runoff.  They have about a month to get their message across to voters and urge them to go to rhe polls on April 29.

Bossier City District 1 Councilman Scott Irwin won a landslide re-election victory over his challenger, Lindell Webb, on Saturday, getting 65%  of the vote.

Irwin, a Republican and a certified financial planner, has held the south Bossier seat since 2003.

Webb, a retired oil and gas man, had served on the Bossier Parish School Board and currently serves on the Bossier Levee Board.  He is a member of the State Republican Central Committee and is a member of the Bossier Parish Republican Executive Committee.

Voter turnout in the district was only 11.3%.

Democrat Emily Jennings defeated Republican Steve Rutledge for the District 2 seat on the Plain Dealing City Council.

Jennings had 52% of the vote to 48% for Rutledge.

Voter turnout was 14.6%.

Bridge controversy

The long-running saga of the future of the  Jimmie Davis Bridge continues.

State Sen. Barrow Peacock said he received a communication from the Louisiana Department of Transportation  and  Development  (DOTD)  saying  that construction on a new bridge may not begin until 2020 and that making it a toll bridge was being considered.

Peacock was not happy with the news and accused DOTD of delay tactics and of being behind schedule.

DOTD responded by issuing a statement to set  the record straight.  They say there is currently no delay in the project that will construct a new 4-lane bridge and convert the existing 2-lane bridge to a pedestrian crossover.

Furthermore, no decision has been made on installing a toll road on the new bridge to pay for it.

The DOTD release says:  “Because the scope of the project changed last year from an extensive rehabilitation to the construction of a new bridge, a supplement to the initial Environmental Assessment has to be conducted.”

It further states, “This is a requirement in order  to received any federal funding.  The supplemental  EA is ongoing and should be complete in the next few months.  This is a normal part of the process.”

Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.