Babin is DA-elect; Lambert withdraws from race

Wade McIntyre
Ricky Babin (left) and Louis Lambert

Ricky Babin has won the 23rd Judicial District Attorney contest after runoff candidate Louis Lambert withdrew from the race Friday.

Babin and Lambert were the final contenders left in a heated four-man race to determine who would succeed Anthony “Tony” Falterman after his nearly 20 years in office.

Babin, who won the recent primary with 35 percent of the vote, and the second place Lambert with 28 percent, have each campaigned for the office for roughly two years.

Lambert’s decision to step aside came as a stunning development in the area political arena.

The former state senator said Monday his decision not to run came after he took a survey which said the runoff race would be intensely competitive. It also showed the race would likely become one of an increasingly mudslinging nature, Lambert said.

“I regret the mudslinging that has occurred in this race,” he said. “My wife Mary and I had no interest in continuing a campaign that would be hurtful to us and our families, and to my opponent.”

Lambert said he had a chance to talk with Babin, and wished he and his family the very best.

“I encouraged him to progress in the office and make us a great district attorney,” Lambert said. “I think he has the capability to do it.”

Lambert described the withdrawal as a hard choice to make, but one that he saw as a choice to make for his community.

Babin said he learned of Lambert’s decision about 10 a.m. Friday morning, but did not know why the former state senator withdrew from the race.

“It came as a surprise,” he said.

Babin said he took the weekend off to be with his family then went back to the office.

“We ran a positive campaign and once he withdrew we just began looking forward to going to work in January,” he said on Monday.

Looking ahead, Babin said the first things he will do when taking office are “getting staff and procedures in place and call the sheriff’s and judges to get as many court dates as we can.”

Both former Judge Pegram Mire and Assistant District Attorney Chuck Long, the other two candidates in the race, announced last week they would be supporting Babin the Nov. 4 election.

Lambert also pulled a television campaign ad last week after learning it contained stock footage of a Zachary man who was portrayed as a sex offender, although he was never charged with the crime.

Lambert’s political consultant said Monday that everyone in the ad signed a waiver and the man in the commercial was a paid criminal actor, and there was no intent to harm him.