Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bob Odom drops out of Agriculture runoff

Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Odom announced on Thursday that he is withdrawing from a runoff election and retiring from the office he has held since 1980.

Odom has been battling criminal corruption charges since August 2002, when he was indicted on 21 counts. The case was whittled away over the years, and a state judge dismissed all remaining charges earlier this year. However, prosecutors have appealed that ruling, asking for the case to be reinstated.

Despite his legal problems, he won re-election four years ago, and he led a field of three candidates in the October 20th election with 41% of the vote, but he required a majority to win re-election.

[State Representative Mike Strain] finished just behind Odom with 40%.
Strain is now commissioner-elect of the Louisiana Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry.

Odom did not take any questions at the press conference, and did not offer any reason for withdrawing from the race. He said that his post-retirement plans include operating a consulting business geared toward the agriculture industry.

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