BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Mayor-President Kip Holden officially threw his name in the running for Lt. Governor. On Wednesday, Holden addressed his supporters for nearly 45 minutes saying why he is the best candidate.
Holden became mayor 10 years ago. In his decade in office, the mayor was quick to claim he has transformed Baton Rouge, especially downtown, from a dull, peopleless area to one that's thriving with tourists, life and a booming economy.
"When I was elected Mayor, Baton Rouge wasn't known for its film production," said Holden.
From creating the Baton Rouge Film Commission to bringing in companies like IBM, Holden said he's put the Red Stick on the national and international map with the recent Miss USA pageant serving as a prime example. Now, he said he's ready to sell Louisiana to the world as Lt. Governor.
But political analyst Jim Engster said although downtown has the imprint of Kip Holden, his reputation is only known in the Baton Rouge area.
"He has to do a lot more as far as expressing himself and getting people to know who he is," said Engster and adding that in many rural parts of the state, people do not know who Kip Holden is.
Plus, Engster said the biggest thing working against him right now is that he is a Democrat.
"Right now, the odds are against any Democrat winning any statewide office. There are none left after Mary Landrieu lost in Louisiana," said Engster.
Engster said it took Holden three times before he actually won mayor so once again, he's in a race where the odds are against him. He added that the only African American to top 40 percent in a statewide race in Louisiana was Barrack Obama, and his current unpopularity is what is driving many to vote Republican.
Three Republicans are also vying for the seat: Opelousas State Senator Elbert Guillory, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, and Jefferson Parish President John Young. Will their party affiliation play a role in this race?
"It's not going to play any part at all and you will see because this race will show despite what happened on the national level, my reputation with people throughout Louisiana is not based on party. It's based upon the work I've done," said Holden.
Holden is currently serving his third term of mayor and has two more years left. His term ends in 2016.
The Lt. Governor's race is slated for next fall.