BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A small group of candidates for East Baton Rouge mayor-president has a clear financial advantage going into the final month of the campaign.
New campaign finance reports show Republican state Sen. Bodi White, R-Baton Rouge, is leading the way amongst the 12 candidates in terms of contributions. His campaign brought in almost $153,000 between August 1 and September 29, according to those reports filed Tuesday.
"The real battle is who gets into the run off with Bodi White," said political analyst Jim Engster.
Democrat Sharon Weston Broome was second in terms of money generated during that time period. She brought in $82,000. Darryl Gissel, who is not connected with a party, rounds out the top three by bringing in $57,000 during that two-month span.
It is important to note that some of that money is self-financed. Gissel tops that particular list. The documents show that he loaned his own campaign more than $25,000 during August and September.
State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge, and John Delgado, a Republican member of the EBR Metro Council, complete the top five candidates in terms of money. Marcelle brought in $25,220.15 during the two-month span. Delgado brought in $25,010.
In terms of the war chest for the home stretch, documents show that White again has a clear advantage. Extra dollars during that period can give a candidate a boost with last minute advertising and public outreach.
White leads the way with $425,308 on hand. Broome holds the second spot with almost $96,712. And Gissel comes in third with nearly $82,807.
Rounding out the top five spots, Delgado has $48,499 on hand while Marcelle has $7,861 available.
"When we see the other candidates speak, they're probably going to be talking about Bodi White because he's the guy they've got to bring down to get into the runoff," Engster said.
Engster said that even though White has a four-to-one advantage in money, all candidates are underperforming in terms of how much cash they have available to spend.
"I would have expected Bodi White and Sharon Weston Broome to have close to a million dollars in their campaign war chests and they don't," Engster said. "But Bodi White has done better raising funds than the others."
The reasons for this could vary, but Engster said that election fatigue coupled with a rough summer for Baton Rouge could have a lot to do with it.
"People are weary in this community, and they it doesn't look like they're really energized about an election and that's evident by the fact that candidates are having so much difficulty raising money," Engster said.
Engster said White is the odds-on favorite to make the December run-off. Meanwhile, expect one of the Democrats - Broome or Marcelle - to take the other spot.
Election day is November 8 with the run-off slated for December 10.