Pool of names to replace term-limited Baton Rouge mayor increases

Pool of names to replace term-limited mayor Kip Holden increases
State Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge (Source: WAFB)
State Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The names are adding up quickly with those who say they want to be Baton Rouge's next mayor when term-limited Kip Holden leaves office at the end of the year. On Thursday, one of the city's up-and-coming politicians threw his name in the hat.

"I am running to become Baton Rouge's next mayor-president," said John Delgado.

Delgado was elected to the East Baton Rouge Metro Council in 2012. He's a lawyer by trade and also owns four lounges.

The 41-year-old Republican now wants to be the city-parish's next leader, saying public safety is his priority.

"I will fight to put an additional 200 officers on the street to patrol our neighborhoods and keep them safe. Not just the 15 new officers that are proposed in this current budget," said Delgado.

Also, Delgado pledged to make sure the fire department and EMS have the resources they need, as well as addressing the traffic nightmare.

"He's getting out of the gate soon. There are 10 months to go before the primary, and I think he wants to make his case that he is the candidate," said political analyst Jim Engster.

Engster said Delgado's party affiliation as a Republican may make things difficult for him.

"East Baton Rouge Parish has become a blue oasis in a sea of red in Louisiana. Democratic candidates are doing well. John Bel Edwards got 70 percent of the votes in the parish against David Vitter," said Engster.

Engster added Louisiana voters elected President Barrack Obama, and they chose Democrat Kip Holden as mayor three times.

Delgado already has a strong Democrat running against him.

"Sharon Weston Broome, the long-time state lawmaker is a Democrat and African-American and quite possibly will get the same type of supporters that Kip Holden has received in the last three elections," said Engster.

Senator Broome is term-limited and leaves the state senate next week. The former television reporter spent 24 years in the state legislature, in both the house and senate. She now wants to become the first female elected as East Baton Rouge Parish mayor-president.

Broome said she was definitely running, but was not sure when her official announcement would be.

Engster expects as many as 10 candidates on the ballot by the time the election rolls around 10 months.

Former councilman "Smokey" Bourgeois, who owns the local Georges restaurants, is also running for mayor. He lost his old council seat to Delgado.

"I'm definitely going to run," said Bourgeois. "I'm a native Louisianian, native Baton Rougeon. I grew up here. That's why I became a council member and I think I did very well. I was very accessible and I plan to be very accessible. I have a lot of things I want to do."

State Representative Ted James, a Democrat, said he's also considering a run.

"I'm still considering," said James. "I think the people of East Baton Rouge Parish deserve a competitive race and candidates with different backgrounds and experiences. My wife and I are continuing to pray about it and weigh our options. I will not make a decision before March 1. My immediate focus is on the upcoming legislative session and addressing the state's budget."

When Holden's Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel was asked if he was running for mayor, he said, "The answer is no, but I never say never."

Councilwoman Tara Wicker's name was tossed around as a possible candidate, but she is not planning on running in the 2016 election.

"Everybody has asked me to run. If I had a dollar for every time I've been asked to run, I could fund my campaign, but the timing is not right for me right now. I will run for mayor, but not right now," Wicker said.

Republican Marty Maley, who just lost a bid for Louisiana Attorney General, said, "I am certainly interested and I am doing my due diligence and meeting with supports and a decision with be forthcoming."

The mayoral election is in November and the run-off will be in December.

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