Metro Council meeting ends without LGBT vote _lowres

Chandler Loupe Council District 3

Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe gave a strong indication Friday he would jump into the mayor-president race, saying in an interview he was 75 percent convinced he would run for East Baton Rouge Parish’s top office.

Loupe, a second-term Republican metro councilman, said he met with friends and supporters about a possible run over the holidays.

“I was advised that should I decide to enter the race, I would certainly be the front-runner,” Loupe said. “Therefore, in a sincere effort to make the right decision, Mimi (my wife) and I have given them the green light to set up an exploratory committee to gauge a successful run.”

Loupe declined further comment about potential campaign platforms, saying he would wait until after he made up his mind.

Loupe, an attorney, was first elected to the council in 2008. He ran unopposed in 2012, securing his council seat, and was elected by his peers to serve as mayor pro tem, the chairman of the council, in early 2013.

Through his seven years on the council, Loupe was at times the leading voice on contentious issues. During his first term as a council member, he frequently went head to head with Mayor-President Kip Holden over disagreements on the budget. Loupe recently led the ouster of former Parish Attorney Mary Roper, who was fired in 2014 by the Metro Council over claims of mismanagement.

Loupe also was a more low-profile supporter of the St. George incorporation effort in 2014 and 2015, where many of his constituents fought to create an independent city. Loupe voted against several measures, including annexations by Baton Rouge that were intended to hurt the St. George effort.

The first week of the new year proved to be a busy one for the 2016 election year — a likely indicator of what’s to come over the next 11 months as candidates clamor for Holden’s open seat.

Loupe’s announcement comes just one day after his council colleague John Delgado formally stated in a news conference at the Crowne Plaza that he would run. Both Republicans represent south Baton Rouge districts.

This week, another Republican, attorney Marty Maley, who unsuccessfully ran for attorney general in the fall, also said he’s interested in the seat.

Meanwhile, state. Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, a Democrat, and former Metro Councilman Rodney “Smokie” Bourgeois, a Republican, both stated last year that they will run.

Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter, @rebekahallen. For more coverage of city-parish government, follow City Hall Buzz blog at http://blogs. buzz/ .