While Mayor Sharon Weston Broome was hoping for an outright victory in Tuesday’s primary, political analysts say that when you consider she was facing five challengers it’s not surprising she fell two points shy and will end up in a December runoff with former state Rep. Steve Carter.
But they also say the incumbent mayor is the odds-on favorite to win reelection.
“The likelihood of the mayor losing is not great,” says political consultant Clay Young. “If (State Rep.) C. Denise Marcelle had not been in the race, Broome would have won outright.”
Marcelle, the only other Democrat and Black candidate in the race, received 7% of the primary vote. While there’s no guarantee Broome will get all of those votes in the runoff, she’ll likely receive most of them and only needs 2% anyway.
“I would say Broome has the easier path,” says political pollster John Couvillon of JMC Analytics. “The Broome plus Marcelle, or Democratic, vote was 55 percent altogether. So when you’re starting off the runoff with 55 percent you’re in a good position.”
Carter, one of four white Republicans in the primary, finished with 20% of the vote. Given the numbers in Broome’s favor, does he have a path to victory in December?
“He absolutely has a chance,” says pollster Bernie Pinsonat. “But he’s got to get the moderate swing voters in south Baton Rouge in the 70808 and 70806 ZIP codes.”
He also has to consolidate the support of the other Republican candidates in the race. While the individual endorsement of an also-ran is not critical per se, the perception that the party is united behind Carter is important, Couvillon says.
But the single most important factor in clearing a path to victory for either candidate is getting voters to the polls for a December election, where the mayoral runoff tops the ballot.
“The three keys are turnout, turnout and turnout,” says Southern University political scientist Albert Samuels. “It’s going to take motivating your base, grassroots campaigning, knocking on doors, literally getting people to the polls. It’s going to take some work.”