BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Voters elected West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes to his fifth term in office during a General Election held Saturday, Oct. 12 in Louisiana, according to complete but unofficial results from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.
Cazes’ campaign played up “stability” in the community and capitalized on the narrative that the trust between his office and the community would take years to build with a new candidate.
Cazes said Saturday his number one priority during his fifth term will be concentrating on assisting offenders through programs approved through the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Package.
“I saw a lot of guys come in and get out that came in at a young age and they deserve a chance, but they got out after serving time and they didn’t have nothing. Today, we have a program in place that we can send them to school, we give them an education, they go to work release, and then we turn around and give them a job. Then they get out with money," said Cazes. “They’re not going out on the streets and going back to the same area they came from with nothing. And, that’s a blessing to me.”
Cazes, the incumbent Democrat, faced two newcomer Democratic challengers, Barnell Williams of Addis and Mike Zito of Port Allen.
Cazes easily captured a majority in the 2015 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 in the race.
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 secured 51% votes, amounting to 5,735 votes of 11,228, according to complete but unofficial results from Louisiana’s Secretary of State’s Office.
“You know it’s an honor the people of West Baton Rouge Parish still had the faith and trust in me to reelect me after four terms and put me back in office at five terms. It’s humbling. I’m honored. And, I will continue to do the job that they put in me,” said Cazes about his victory Saturday night.