Mack “Bodi” White won a third term Saturday as senator for Senate District 6, defeating Rufus Craig, Baton Rouge attorney and state chairman of the Libertarian Party, who made a longshot bid for the seat.
White led by a 4-to-1 margin with all but nine precincts in.
White, 63, who sells real estate and runs a private security company called Asset Security, has already spent 16 years in the Legislature, two terms as state representative and then two more as state senator.
White has been touting his insider knowledge to get things done for the state and for his district. The Republican from Central has noted several local projects funded this past session thanks to a re-purposed $700 million from the settlement from the 2010 BP oil spill, such as $37 million for the Pecue Lane/Interstate 10 Interchange and $17.7 million for Hooper Road extension and widening.
Craig and White have faced each other before. The Baton Rouge attorney was one of many candidates, along with White, who ran for mayor-president in 2016, a race that Sharon Weston-Broome ultimately won in a runoff against White.
Craig's first race was a long shot bid in 2004 to unseat then U.S. Rep. Richard Baker. Craig, the current chairman of the state party, wants people to realize there is an alternative to the Democratic or Republican parties. He also likes to ensure officeholders have an opponent at election time.
White has said he plans, among other things, to help further work on a new Mississippi River bridge, look at rolling back some of the local say in the granting of industrial tax exemptions that Gov. John Bel Edwards instituted, and perhaps reduce a recent sales tax increase now that the state is running a surplus.
District 6 has 82,680 registered voters. They vote predominantly Republican. In the 2016 presidential election, they went 67 percent for Trump compared with 29 percent for Clinton.
The district also has an odd shape. It covers parts of four parishes, taking in eastern East Baton Rouge, southern St. Helena, the northeast corner of Livingston and the western edge of Tangipahoa.
Craig said gerrymandering, as evident in the District 6 map, was his main reason for running. Having a third party at the table when legislative redistricting occurs after the 2020 Census will help keep that at bay, he said. Craig also pushed for legalizing marijuana, curtailing corporate tax credits and shrinking government.
Craig has reported spending $300 on the qualifying fee. White, by contrast, had almost $100,000 at the start of the campaign and has raised almost $103,000 since.
CANDIDATE: Mack “Bodi” White
OCCUPATION: State Senator, real estate agent, owner of private security company
EDUCATION: Southeastern Louisiana University, bachelor’s degree.
EXPERIENCE: East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputy; ExxonMobil, security and emergency preparedness.