East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden announced Wednesday morning that he is running for U.S. Congress.
Holden, a Democrat, is finishing up his 12th year in office as the city-parish’s top leader, but he’s term limited and unable to run again.
The 2nd Congressional District’s statistics indicate Holden may face stiff competition in challenging U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans. The Baton Rouge end of the district has 98,963 registered voters, while Jefferson and Orleans parishes have 336,178 registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Another 70,000 voters live in the parishes along the Mississippi River between the two.
Richmond has held the seat since 2010. His spokesman Brandon Gassaway confirmed in an email on Wednesday that Richmond, the only Democrat among Louisiana’s six congressmen, plans to run for re-election.
In announcing his intentions to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in November, Holden touted economic successes he landed as mayor-president.
For example, he said he was involved in bringing IBM to Baton Rouge, helped grow the film industry and improved the capital region’s national ranking in areas like economic development and livability.
“You don’t achieve these things just by luck; you have to work for them,” he said.
In the fall, Holden ran for lieutenant governor and lost to Republican Billy Nungesser.
Holden previously has served as a legislator in both the Louisiana House and the state Senate. He also served as a East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council member.
The bid for the congressional seat will be his first foray into national politics, but Holden stressed he has experience working with national leaders.
He pointed out that he regularly visits Washington, D.C., to lobby on behalf of the parish and to form relationships with national leaders and leaders of other cities.
If elected to Congress, Holden said he’ll fight for affordable housing, coastal restoration, flood protection and agriculture — areas important to Louisianians.
“I won’t be a Washington-down congressman; I’ll be people up,” he said.
About 62 percent of the 2nd District voters are black and 65 percent are registered Democrats. The district includes much of New Orleans and parts of Baton Rouge. It stretches up the Mississippi River from New Orleans through Jefferson, St. James, St. John the Baptist, Iberville, West Baton Rouge, St. Charles, Assumption, Ascension and East Baton Rouge parishes.
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