‘LaPolitics’: EBR mayoral race will be a ballot highlighter

    In what promises to be one of the hottest local races on the 2024 ballot, the leading Democratic candidates for East Baton Rouge mayor-president are splintering the region’s legislative delegation while testing the bonds of their own friendship, if such a thing even exists during an election cycle.

    Moreover, the contest may become another Louisiana case study for how Republican voters can greatly influence outcomes in Democratic strongholds on the municipal level.

    Ted James, a former state legislator aiming to become the next Red Stick CEO, says he doesn’t plan to sling mud in his race against incumbent Sharon Weston Broome. In fact, James says he met with Mayor Broome privately to let her know his plans. 

    “I don’t think I have to go negative,” James says. “I still consider the mayor a friend. I still consider her an ally.” 

    But Broome, who has built a political brand around Christian principles and pragmatic politics, says she finds James’ announcement “disheartening.” After all, James co-chaired her first campaign for mayor and she supported his aspirations in politics and with the U.S. Small Business Administration, where he worked as a regional administrator before leaving to run for mayor. 

    “As recently as two years ago, I was on his resume,” the mayor says. “Of course, this is America, and everybody can run for office.” 

    Broome is seeking her third and final term as EBR’s mayor-president. She also served on the Metro Council and was the first woman to be named both speaker pro tem and president pro tem at the state Capitol.  

    James could have bided his time and run for an open seat in four years, but says, “Baton Rouge can’t afford to wait another four years” for change. He plans to make public safety an issue, and argues that the administration has been ineffective at drawing down and utilizing federal dollars for housing. 

    Read the full column. 

    Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com.