Elections for the offices of mayor and chief of police for the Baker will not include incumbents.
Mayor Harold Rideau, mayor since 2004, is not seeking re-election. Chief of Police Mike Knaps is retiring after 35 years.
Candidates are eyeing those open positions as they qualify this week to run for those and other positions in the March 5 primary. A runoff, if needed, is scheduled April 9.
Qualifying started Wednesday and ends Friday.
On Wednesday, four candidates — Leroy Davis, Fred Russell, Darnell “DA-1” Waites and Joyce Burges, all Democrats — qualified to run for mayor.
Davis, 71, who served as Baker mayor from 2001 to 2004, works as an adjunct professor of economics at Southern University’s business school and Upper Iowa University.
Russell, 80, and retired from 23 years on the City Council as of 2011, served 10 years as an assistant to the mayor starting in 1994. While he has dealings in real estate and rents property, his main career focus has been politics. He graduated from LSU and studied civil engineering.
Waites, 55, has worked for the past 3½ years as administrative officer to Mayor Rideau. A retired combat veteran of 27 years originally from Jacksonville, Florida, he is president of the Baker Chamber of Commerce and has lived in Baker for 16 years.
Burges, 57, who serves as the District 3 council member, was raised in Baton Rouge, and graduated from Capitol High School and then Southern University, majoring in English.
Also ripe for the taking is the chief of police position in a city ranked one of the top 10 safest cities in the state for the last nine years.
Two candidates qualified on Wednesday: Darryl Rainwater, a 20-year Baker police officer who has risen up the ranks, and Carl Dunn, a longtime Baton Rouge police officer who retired in June. Both are Democrats.
Rainwater graduated from Baker High School and attended Southeastern for two years. Knaps, the retiring police chief, pledged Wednesday his support to Rainwater.
Dunn worked 37 years for the Baton Rouge Police Department, working in north Baton Rouge’s crime-heavy zones. He graduated from Southern University in criminal justice and sociology and has lived in Baker for 28 years, though he is originally from Port Allen.
Candidates who qualified Wednesday for Baker City Council, all Democrats so far, are:
District 1: Charles Vincent.
District 2: Naisha Cooper and Pete Heine.
District 3: Glenda Bryant, Bruce D. Jones Sr. and Troy Watson.
District 4: Antonia Caine and Robert Young.
District 5: John Givens.