On May 18, outgoing Mayor Kip Holden announced his candidacy for the 2nd Congressional District. Some 90 minutes later, just down the street, state Sen. Mack “Bodi” White, R-Central, proclaimed that he’s officially in the race to replace Holden.
As Holden’s event was winding down, White’s conference was just getting started—foreshadowing, in a sense, that change is coming to City Hall.
White was the latest of several candidates to officially jump into the ring for the city-parish’s top job. He joins former state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, Metro Councilman John Delgado and former Metro Councilman Byron Sharper, as well as former Southern University Athletic Director Greg LaFleur. (See related column on page 55)
Businessman Darryl Gissel, meanwhile, is expected to announce his candidacy before the end of the month, and state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle is said to be mulling a run but won’t decide until after the legislative session ends.
It’s only natural that the first open race without an incumbent since 2000 would generate a lot of attention. But while much of the interest so far is focused on the big prize, it’s important to remember several Metro Council seats will also be up for grabs this fall.
Two long-serving members of the council recently announced they will not seek re-election—Joel Boé, who has represented District 9 since 2009, and Ryan Heck, who has held the District 11 seat since 2013.
A third seat will also be open, because Delgado’s mayoral run will preclude him from seeking re-election to the District 12 seat he has held since 2013.
The departure of Boé, Delgado and Heck could shake up the white, conservative voting bloc of seven on the council, which also includes Buddy Amoroso, Chandler Loupe, Trae Welch and Scott Wilson—and is often at odds with the black, liberal voting bloc of five. Though it’s unlikely the conservative districts from which Boé, Delgado and Heck hail will elect replacements that are very different from the current council members, the outcome of just one district race could upset the balance of power and change the dynamics of the body.
On the other side of the proverbial aisle, three of the veteran council members are all expected to seek re-election: Donna Collins-Lewis, Tara Wicker and Chauna Banks-Daniel. Former Metro Councilman Bones Addison was said to be considering a run for his old seat against Banks-Daniel, but he tells Business Report he’s not interested.
Meanwhile, newcomers Erika Green and Lamont Cole, who joined the council earlier this year to fill the unexpired terms of the late Ronnie Edwards and the newly elected state Rep. Marcelle, will also likely run again, though they will be more vulnerable to challengers than their more seasoned colleagues.
What’s clear at this point is that voters will have plenty of options. It remains to be seen whether fresh faces will bring about real change.