Get ready for a long year of political posturing.
This November, in addition to the East Baton Rouge Parish mayor-president election, all 12 parish Metro Council seats will be up for grabs.
Everyone in office is eligible for re-election, but the council sworn in next year will look different from the one that took the oath in 2013.
For starters, some of the council members may count themselves out because they’ve set their sights higher. Councilman John Delgado said he’s running for mayor-president, to succeed term-limited Kip Holden.
Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe said earlier this month that he was 75 percent convinced he would run for mayor-president as well. That would leave two open seats for their south Baton Rouge council districts.
Councilwoman Tara Wicker, who represents areas including downtown Baton Rouge and parts of Scotlandville near Southern University, said she expects she’ll run for re-election for her third and final term. But there’s a small chance she could jump into the mayor-president race.
“I’m a completer,” she said. “And there are some projects on the council that I want to complete.”
So far, only one council member has declared he won’t run for re-election.
Councilman Joel Boé, who represents the southeastern-most part of the parish, said he felt two terms was enough for him, and he wants to spend more time focused on his career and his young children.
Some already have emerged to lay claim to his seat, which is located in the political hotbed community that started the unsuccessful and controversial effort to create a new city of St. George in recent years.
Dwight Hudson, a St. George volunteer and leader of the conservative Tax Busters group, said he is actively running for Boé’s seat.
Jennifer Treadway, another Republican who recently lost her bid in the fall to be state treasurer, said she’s also considering entering the race. Treadway, an attorney, is best known for representing an Iberville Parish truck stop in its efforts to keep Tony, a Bengal tiger, on the premises.
“I’m strongly looking at it at this time,” Treadway said. “I’m just not sure if it will be worth my time and effort, but I’m open to the idea.”
She added that she’s also considering a run for mayor-president but “not as strongly.”
Most of the council members say they’re running for re-election.
Trae Welch, Scott Wilson and Donna Collins-Lewis all said they are running for their third and final terms. All three ran for other seats this past term and lost. Welch ran for district court judge, and Wilson and Collins-Lewis unsuccessfully sought legislative seats.
First-term council members Buddy Amoroso and Chauna Banks-Daniel also said they’ll seek re-election.
“I started my re-election campaign the day after I was sworn in,” Banks-Daniel said in an email.
Councilman Ryan Heck was the only one who said he was undecided.
“I haven’t put much thought into it,” he said with a shrug. “It’s a long way off.”
Dennis Vidrine, past president of the Goodwood Property Association for seven years, said he has been asked by “no less than 100 folks” about running for Heck’s seat. Vidrine said although it’s not on his immediate radar, “I have learned to never say never.”
The last two council seats up for grabs are both in north Baton Rouge. The council members for districts 7 and 5, C. Denise Marcelle and Ronnie Edwards, both were sworn into the state House of Representatives this past week.
The remaining council members appointed educator and NAACP past President LaMont Cole to Marcelle’s seat and Baton Rouge attorney Erika Green to Edwards’ seat.
Both appointees, who will serve for a year, said it’s too early to say whether they’ll run for the seat officially in November.
Neither candidate ruled out the possibility.
Cole, who works full time as the chief academic officer for the Community School for Apprenticeship Learning, said he wants to give the job a few months to make sure his constituents are satisfied with his performance.
“I just don’t want to let people down, so if I begin doing the job and they’re not happy, I’ll step aside,” he said. “But if I get in there and do the work and they’re pleased, I’ll gladly do what they request.”
If they were to run, Green and Cole could be up against the two candidates who were vying for their council appointments this past week.
Retired Exxon worker Sandy Lemoine said he was disappointed he didn’t receive the appointment to the council to fill Marcelle’s seat but would give some consideration to a November run.
Gary Chambers, publisher of TheRougeCollection.net, a local black issues website, competed for Edwards’ open seat based on a commitment that he wouldn’t run in November, so the election would start with a clean slate. But because he didn’t get the appointment, his options are open.
After the council voted to appoint Green over him, Chambers sent a text message to several council members who voted against him, telling him he’d see them on the campaign trail.
“One way or another, I’ll see everyone on the campaign trail,” he said, noting that he received more than 20 calls and messages that night telling him to run in November. “I’m entertaining the conversations.”
Staff writer Andrea Gallo contributed to this report.