Campaign contributions may make a difference in BR Mayoral race

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two well-funded campaigns in a four man race for mayor in Baton Rouge. Political analysts say one candidate does have an advantage over the other.

Four men vying for votes, but only two are pulling in the big bucks to push their names to the front.

Campaign contributions to Mayor Kip Holden and challenger Mike Walker show both men have taken in thousands upon thousands of donor dollars in an increasing flow.

From June to October 17, Kip Holden took in $389,333.65. Mike Walker collected $165,048.96. In October alone, Holden received more than $85,000, Walker just over $50,000.

"On paper the mayor is in good shape, but elections aren't won on paper. They're won at the ballot box," said political analyst Jim Engster.

Engster says Holden has the upper hand. He's better funded and his name is more recognized. He says that's evident when looking at who is donating.

According to the records, Holden has received large amounts of money from political groups and action committees; like a maximum donation of $10,000 from FuturePac, LLC. Other big donations include $5,000 from Mercedes-Benz in Baton Rouge, John Sinqufield, counsel with the Attorney General, gave $3,000, and Tony Clayton, Assistant District Attorney in West Baton Rouge gave $1,000.

Engster says Walker is depending on a lot of people he knows, and in some cases names that may not be well known.

Like Brandi and Brandon Babin who gave a total of $10,000. West Chimes Place LLC, owner of a local apartment complex gave $3,000.

"Every dollar these candidates have raised will be spent in the final week - primarily on paid media," Engster said.

That's on television, radio, print and signs which are blasted out over the airwaves and posted all over the city. Advertising is where most of that money has been spent.

From June to October, Holden spent more than $185,000 advertising on TV, radio, billboards and more. Walker spent just over $38,000 doing the same.

That being said, Engster says nothing that happens in the next several days will likely change the minds of voters.

"The question in this race isn't who's finishing first. We know Kip Holden's going to run first on primary day. The question is whether he'll be forced into a runoff," Engster said.

Engster says Holden is a decent bet to win in the primary, but if he is forced into a runoff, he could be in for a real battle; one that will be funded with a lot of money coming in and going out.

As for the other two candidates, Engster says Gordon Mese had no note worthy donations or expenses. He points out if Steve Myers spent the $130,000 he loaned his own campaign, he could finish third in the race.

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