(WAFB) - A runoff election will take place between four-term incumbent Mike Cazes and challenger Mike Zito for West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Saturday, Nov. 16.
Cazes secured the most votes among the candidates, which included three newcomer Democratic challengers.
In previous campaigns, Cazes easily captured a majority needed to win the race, but with strong criticisms from his competitors and members of the public over the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office’s handling of the deputy-involved shooting death of Josef Richardson, it remained to be seen whether he’d maintained enough trust among voters to secure a lead. Zito critiqued Cazes over his handling of the incident.
Cazes also drew criticism at the end of his last tenure after a 9News investigation showed an undocumented immigrant, serving time for a sex crime against a 13-year-old girl, working unsupervised at his home.
The revelations led to the Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC) investigating whether the sheriff broke any laws by having an inmate working at his home and by driving a parish van for personal use. DOC forwarded their findings to Louisiana State Police, which cleared the sheriff of any wrongdoing.
Cazes’ campaign played up “stability” in the community and pushed the narrative that the trust between his office and the community would take years to build with a new candidate.
Zito, a father of three with his wife Charlotte Zito, said he’ll lean on his forty-five years of law enforcement experience to lead the agency. Zito serves as marshal for Ward 3 in West Baton Rouge Parish.