Ned Randolph

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Edward Gordon

"Ned" Randolph, Jr.​


In office
December 1986​ – December 2006​
Preceded by John K. Snyder
Succeeded by Jacques Roy​

Louisiana State Senator
for District 29 (Rapides Parish)​
In office
1976​ – 1984​
Preceded by Cecil R. Blair
Succeeded by Joe McPherson

Louisiana State Representative
for District 26 (Rapides Parish)
In office
1972​ – 1976​
Preceded by At-large delegation:​

T. C. Brister
W. K. Brown
Ralph Warren "Buzzy" Graham
Robert Munson

Succeeded by Jock Scott

President of the
Louisiana Municipal Association​
In office
2001​ – 2002​
Preceded by Clarence W. Hawkins​
Succeeded by Bobby Simpson

Born February 5, 1942​
Alexandria, Louisiana​

Reared in Colfax in Grant Parish, Louisiana

Died October 4, 2016 (aged 74)
Alexandria, Louisiana
Resting place Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville, Louisiana
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) (1) Sanna Randolph (divorced)

(2) Missing (divorced)
(3) Deborah Ann Broussard Randolph (married 1994-2016, his death)​

Children Sanna Aimee Randolph Lapic​

Edward Randolph, III
​ Stepson Matthew Dunn (born 1986)​
Five grandchildren
Note:

Occupation Attorney

Edward Gordon Randolph, Jr., known as Ned Randolph (February 5, 1942 – October 4, 2016), was a Democratic politician who served as the mayor of his native Alexandria in central Louisiana from 1986 to 2006. He was also a one-term state representative from 1972 to 1976 and a state senator for two terms from 1976 to 1984.[1]

In 1982 and 1992, Randolph was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States House of Representatives, having lost to the incumbents Gillis Long of Alexandria and Richard Hugh Baker of Baton Rouge, respectively.

Background

Randolph was the son of Edward Randolph, Sr. (1911–1996), and the former Edith Beatrice Harrison (1910–2005). Born at Rapides Baptist Hospital in Alexandria, he was reared mostly in rural Colfax in Grant Parish north of Alexandria. He graduated in 1960 from Bolton High School in the Alexandria Garden District and in 1964 from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1964. Thereafter, he obtained his law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans. He practiced law in New Orleans with the firm Phelps Dunbar before he returned to Alexandria, where he quickly entered elective politics.​ He served in the Louisiana National Guard and the United States Air Force Reserves.[1]

Legislative years

In 1972, Randolph was elected to the position of state representative for newly established single-member District 26. After he secured the Democratic nomination over a field that included Alexandria restaurateur John Hampton "Hamp" Smith (1937-2005), Randolph polled 71.4 percent of the general election vote to 28.6 percent for Republican P. C. "Clyde" Connell, Jr., an educator unrelated to the Louisiana artist Clyde Connell (1901-1998), a woman. In the legislature, Randolph compiled a record of seeking to bring state funding and projects to central Louisiana.​

In 1975, he ran for the District 29 state Senate seat and unseated the 14-year incumbent, Cecil R. Blair, a fellow Democrat from Lecompte in south Rapides Parish, in the first nonpartisan blanket primary held in Louisiana.​[2]

In 1976, as a new state senator, Randolph and Jock Scott, his House successor, led the successful Rapides Parish campaign to elect Democratic presidential nominee [[Jimmy Carter]of Georgia. A quiet, introspective man, Randolph learned how to get things done for his district during his two terms in the state senate.​

Political challenges

In 1982, Randolph challenged U.S. Representative Gillis Long of the since defunct 8th congressional district in central Louisiana. Long prevailed with 71,103 ballots (59.6 percent), to Randolph's 46,656 votes (39.1 percent). During that campaign, Randolph made appearances with popular soap-opera star Deidre Hall of NBC's Days of Our Lives, whom he was dating at the time after the breakup of his first marriage to Sanna Randolph.​

In 1983, Randolph was unseated in the primary for reelection to the state senate by fellow Democrat Joe McPherson, then of Pineville, across the Red River from Alexandria and later from Woodworth in south Rapides Parish. McPherson, who was elected to the state senate again in 2007, was supported by both Congressman Long and Governor Edwin Edwards, who was making a successful bid in that same election for a third term in the governor's office.​

In the primary, Randolph led with 13,501 votes (38.4 percent) to McPherson's 11,032 (31.4 percent). Former Senator Cecil Blair polled 6,096 votes (17.4 percent), and Alexandria Mayor John K. Snyder in the second year of his second mayoral term, received 4,496 (12.8 percent). In the runoff—officially the Louisiana general election- McPherson won, 16,360 votes (53.9 percent) to Randolph's 13,973 (46.1 percent). Turnout was nearly five thousand less in the runoff than in the primary, a phenomenon that may have worked against incumbent Randolph.[3] With two consecutive defeats, Randolph's political career seemed on the ropes.​

Mayor of his hometown, 1986-2006

In 1986, three years after his defeat for a third term in the state Senate, Randolph launched a successful political comeback. He won the first of his five consecutive terms as mayor of Alexandria. He defeated eight candidates outright in the primary with a margin of 52.5 percent of the vote. One of those contenders was former Mayor Carroll Lanier, who finished with only 5 percent of the vote. In the four subsequent elections, Randolph won in the primaries and did not have to face an opponent in a general election.​

On the day of his inauguration, December 1, 1986, The Alexandria Town Talk reported that the theme of the event was "We're proud again. Our pride is back." Nationally syndicated radio host Paul Harvey told the nation that Alexandria was back on a "positive" path.​

The city is governed by a mayor-council form of government established in a new charter drafted in the middle 1970s. Coincidentally, Randolph's first wife, Sanna Randolph, was a member of the city charter commission that created the job description that he exercised for twenty years.​ Alexandria's population shifted from a barely white city to a 55 percent black majority during Randolph's tenure and 57 percent in the 2010 census. Randolph worked with African-American community leaders, and many supported him in his mayoral campaigns. Randolph also had a close working relationship for his last five years as mayor with Clarence Fields, the still-serving black mayor of Pineville, which in the 2010 census was 70 percent white.

On April 5, 1997, Mayor Randolph ran unsuccessfully for a vacancy on the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit, based in Lake Charles. He polled 9,974 votes (28.5 percent) and finished second to fellow Democrat Elizabeth Pickett, the daughter of a former state representative from Many in Sabine Parish, who received 15,322 votes (43.7 percent). A Republican, John Gutierrez McLure (born April 1946) of Woodworth, received 9,738 (28.8 percent).[4]​Randolph declined to pursue a runoff election against Pickett, who still holds the position for a term which expires in 2022.

Second bid for Congress, 1992

​ In 1992, just five years into his mayoral service, Randolph was again attracted by the lure of Congress. When the 8th congressional district was disbanded, Alexandria was temporarily placed in a new 6th District, which included East Baton Rouge Parish. Randolph ran as the lone Democrat for the seat. Two Republican congressmen ran against each other, Richard Baker and Clyde Cecil Holloway (1943-2016) of Randolph's own Rapides Parish. Holloway led in the jungle primary, with 52,012 (37 percent). Baker was second with 46,990 votes (33 percent). Randolph finished a close third with 42,819 ballots (30 percent).​[5]

In the general election, Baker defeated Holloway by 2,728 votes even though Holloway polled majorities in fifteen of the seventeen parishes in the district. A majority of Randolph's supporters were believed to have gone to Baker. Turnout in the congressional general election, which accompanied the Clinton-Bush presidential contest, was 245,178, nearly double the 141,821 votes cast in the primary.​[6]

Legacy

Contrast with Snyder

Randolph announced on April 3, 2006, that he would not seek a sixth term. The Alexandria Daily Town Talk, his hometown newspaper, said that his 20-year leadership had lifted "the city's esteem and changed its direction." Randolph succeeded the controversial John K. Snyder, an admirer of the late Earl Kemp Long. Snyder once even checked himself into a mental health facility.​ "Thank God Ned chose to run," said Glen E. s Beard (born 1938), the Alexandria police chief from 1983 until 1991. "When he was elected, it was like a breath of fresh air." At one point, Snyder even seized Beard's police car. Randolph later named Darren Coutee as the first African-American police chief.​

"I think one of the biggest things was that people were somewhat embarrassed to say they were from Alexandria," said Deborah Ann Broussard Dunn Randolph (born 1957), the mayor's third wife whom he wed in 1994, in reference to the Snyder administration. Snyder had also served an earlier term from 1973 to 1977, under the former commission form of city government, but had been defeated for reelection under the mayor-council charter in 1977 by Carroll Lanier.​

There were public relations campaigns "to try to make people feel good again about themselves and about Alexandria," said Mrs. Randolph. A former city council member, Marion Chaney, who worked for an Alexandria architectural firm, said, "It was time for a change" by 1986. "I wouldn't say Alexandria was a laughing stock, but it definitely needed a change."​ ​

Municipal improvements

When Randolph became mayor, Alexandria faced budget deficits and potential city employee layoffs. During the two decades that Randolph served as mayor, Alexandria landed a tank car plant, completed the Riverfront Center, opened a performing arts center, and improved its drainage system. In the 1990s, the city faced the closure of the former England Air Force Base and a police strike.

Randolph said that his "worst day" in office came early in 2003, when two young police officers, David C. Ezernack and Jeremy E. "Jay" Carruth, were shot to death in the line of duty, a tragedy not that common in Alexandria at that time.[7]

Death

Prior to his death in Alexandria at the age of seventy-four, Randolph practiced law and served as the Central Louisiana representative for the state Attorney General's Office. Randolph had two children from his first marriage: Sanna Aimee Randolph (born 1970) and her husband, Robert Mathew Lapic of Mill Valley, California, and journalist Edward G. "Ned" Randolph, III, (born 1971), formerly with The Baton Rouge Advocate who resides with his wife, Dr. Jessica Shank Randolph, in San Diego, California. Randolph is also the stepfather of Deborah's son, Matthew Alexander Dunn (born 1986) of Baton Rouge.[1]

On February 2, 2008, Randolph and his former congressional rival, Richard Baker, were among several individuals inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield, north of Alexandria.​[8]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Edward Gordon "Ned" Randolph, Jr.. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
  2. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 1, 1975.
  3. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election returns, October 22 and November 19, 1983.
  4. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, April 5, 1997.
  5. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 3, 1992.
  6. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 3, 1992.
  7. Alexandria Town Talk, December 3, 2006.
  8. Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame. louisianapoliticalmuseum.com. Retrieved on June 8, 2020.

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