Qualifying ends: 5 in Baker mayoral race, 2 in special election for East Baton Rouge School Board; 3 for 18th JDC judge _lowres

Carlon "Frank" Simpson

Only one more person jumped into the Baker mayoral race Friday as qualifying for the March 5 elections closed.

Carlon “Frank” Simpson, 65, qualified Friday morning to be one of five candidates, all experienced in government, who are running to become mayor of Baker. Simpson served two terms on Baker’s City Council, from 2000 to 2004 and 2008 to 2012.

Simpson, a Democrat, is hoping to create a closer relationship between the Mayor’s Office and the City Council but has no particular area of focus going into office.

Outside of the council, Simpson worked as a public servant and was a caregiver for her family. She has not run for mayor before.

Originally from Mississippi, Simpson moved to Baker 47 years ago when she got married. She is a member of St. Isidore Catholic Church.

Simpson joins the race with Joyce Burges, Leroy Davis, Fred Russell and Darnell “DA-1” Waites, all Democrats.

Among the list of qualifiers Friday for Baker’s City Council are Admon R. McCastle in District 1; LaSunia McKneely and Cleveland Thomas for District 2; Doris Alexander for District 4 and Robert Young for District 4; and Brenda Jackson for District 5. All are Democrats.

Democrats Dawn Collins and Robert Maxie Sr. both qualified this week for the special election for the District 4 seat on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. That seat was vacated by Tarvald Smith, who resigned after he was elected Oct. 24 to the Baton Rouge City Court.

District 4 covers the eastern portion of north Baton Rouge and is bounded on the south by Florida Boulevard and on the north by Greenwell Street, Joor Road and the Comite River. Lobdell Avenue and Elm Drive form much of its western edge, while Flannery Road bounds the district on the east.

Collins, 39, is the founder and principal of Cogent Concepts, a political consultancy and community advocacy firm.

The Baton Rouge native also leads the parish’s Democratic Executive Committee and is a member of the NAACP and Baton Rouge Unit of Parliamentarians.

Maxie is a military veteran and 1997 graduate of the East Baton Rouge Parish school system.

According to his website, he’s a clinical supervisor with the CRC Health Group and has affiliations with the American Legion and Disabled Veterans Association.

Across the Mississippi River, three people have qualified in the special election to fill the unexpired term of the Division D judge’s seat in the 18th Judicial District Court.

The position was vacated on Oct. 31 when William Dupont retired after serving on the bench for 11 years in a district that covers cases in West Baton Rouge, Iberville and Pointe Coupee parishes.

Among the batch of candidates vying for the spot is Dupont’s nephew, Joseph Dupont.

Joseph Dupont, 47, is a Democrat and partner in his family’s law firm — Dupont, Dupont and Dupont.

He briefly served as judge pro tempore for the Plaquemine City Court from 2004-05.

“I believe having practiced a variety of law throughout my career gives me the ability to understand the complicated issues the courts are faced with every day,” Joseph Dupont said in his candidacy announcement. “It is imperative that our district court judge have experience in all areas of the law.”

Joseph Dupont is joined in the race by fellow Democrat Elizabeth Engolio.

Engolio, 36, has spent the past 10 years as an assistant district attorney for the 18th Judicial District and was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to the Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee.

“My experience, education and background have prepared me for this position, and I have been encouraged by the support I have received,” she wrote in her announcement this week.

Thomas “Tom” McCormick, the insurance fraud section chief with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, rounds out the ticket for the Division D seat.

The 41-year-old Republican is touting his experience as a former judge advocate general with the U.S. Air Force and his extensive legal career within the military.

“I’m the most qualified and experienced person that should be leading the judge’s office,” he said. “I’m running on leadership, experience and impartiality.”

Editor’s Note: This story was changed Dec. 8, 2015, to show the following corrections for candidates for Baker City Council: that Doris Alexander for District 4, Robert Young for District 4, and Brenda Jackson for District 5.