Though politics is considered a spectator sport in Louisiana, the race to watch in East Baton Rouge Parish this year may be something of a sleeper.
It’s not as if Mayor Sharon Weston Broome has been a particularly popular mayor, according to her critics. The major accomplishment to which she can take credit is the passage of the MovEBR roads tax. But it hasn’t been implemented yet. So, even though it was a political win, it’s too soon to claim it as a real victory.
Still, Broome is an incumbent and a skilled politician, who has forged alliances, spread the wealth and run a scandal-free administration while continuing to build up her campaign coffers. All of which will make her hard to beat.
“It’s highly unlikely someone will beat her,” says political pollster Bernie Pinsonat. “Not impossible, but highly unlikely.”
There will be those who try, however. At least two Metro Council members are expected to jump in the race to challenge Broome: Matt Watson and Tara Wicker, both of whom have been eyeing the position for months, if not years.
Watson, who will attract some conservative and moderate white voters, has been increasingly involved in north Baton Rouge affairs far outside the confines of his Old Goodwood district. This has earned him fans and detractors alike.
Wicker has also been more visible and involved in matters outside her primarily downtown district and has tried to position herself as a moderate, who tries to bridge the city’s racial and political divide.
She’s more likely than Watson to pull moderate voters, both black and white, away from Broome
There’s also still the possibility that another candidate or two could enter the race. Local restaurateur Jordan Piazza plans to announce his candidacy this spring. The 31-year-old says it is time for the next generation of leadership in Baton Rouge. Read the full story looking ahead at the race from the latest edition of Business Report.