BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - An East Baton Rouge Parish mayoral runoff debate between incumbent, Sharon Weston Broome, and challenger, Steve Carter, has been canceled due to COVID-19.
The debate was scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 18.
READ MORE >> WAFB-TV to host final Baton Rouge mayoral debate
Broome released a statement about the cancellation Wednesday afternoon:
“I was sorry to learn that this virus has impacted the debate. It is another instance that reminds us all that COVID-19 is still here, and it’s more important than ever for us to follow CDC guidelines - wear our masks and social distance. I would ask everyone to join me in praying for Mr. Carter and his family, and I look forward to rescheduling this debate when he is given the all clear from medical professionals.”
A close family member of Steve Carter tested positive for the coronavirus.
However, Carter’s COVID-19 test came back negative.
A spokesperson with his campaign, says he will follow the doctor’s orders, and continue quarantining until he is retested on Monday.
Cade Tolar, a representative for Steve Carter’s campaign released the following statement Wednesday:
The campaign was excited to debate tonight. And we look forward to having a conversation about the important issues facing the voters of Baton Rouge soon.”
There was a televised debate scheduled for November 18, but the Broome campaign and the other organization hosting pulled out due to coronavirus concerns, and to be on the safe side.
“In an election against Sharon Weston Broome, it was already a long shot. This has to be a big disappointment for him (Carter), because he’s got a long ways to go, and a short time to get there,” said Jim Engster, WAFB Political Analyst.
Engster says debates are always a way to make up some ground against your opponent.
“Maybe the opponent, in this case, the incumbent, would make a mistake. But Steve Carter has lost an opportunity. And those opportunities are a precious few, with a few weeks to go until the election,” said Engster.
All campaign events involving Steve Carter have been canceled for this week as well.
Engster says turnout is key to win the race. The candidates must figure out how to drive voters to the polls in December, without a presidential race sharing the ballot.
“And so we’re going to see a drop in turnout there’s no doubt. We may have an LSU-Alabama game on that day too. So Steve Carter is really going to have to energize his base in a big way, and the fact that he is now essentially quarantined leaves him without something that is necessary. And that is to get out there, and get the votes, and get the people who want to go out and vote for him, to the polls,” said Engster.
WAFB will host a mayoral debate on Dec. 3. Both candidates are still scheduled to appear.
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