Republican incumbents running parishwide in East Baton Rouge Parish won big Saturday night, with the current sheriff, clerk of court, coroner and assessor each defeating Democratic rivals to secure additional four-year terms in office.
The parish's longtime top law enforcement officer, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, and Clerk of Court Doug Welborn, Coroner Dr. Beau Clark and Assessor Brian Wilson all won reelection bids outright with over 50% of the vote parishwide.
Gautreaux, a Republican, was first elected sheriff in 2007 after Elmer Litchfield resigned for health reasons following more than two decades in office. Gautreaux ran as a Democrat in that election, but then switched parties and won again as a Republican in 2011.
During the campaign, Gautreaux highlighted what he said was a significant decrease in violent crime and an increase in the quality of community relations during his tenure. That's despite some notable challenges: the 2016 ambush on law enforcement in Baton Rouge that left three officers dead, including a sheriff's deputy, and devastating floods that followed just weeks later.
His Democratic challengers — Mark Milligan and Charles “Carlos” Jean Jr. — both criticized Gautreaux for his decision to sign an agreement with federal immigration officials in 2017 that allowed deputies to check the citizenship status of people booked into jail. Gautreaux defended the move, saying it boosted efficiency and didn’t substantially change immigration enforcement in the parish.
Longtime East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk Doug Welborn won his eighth consecutive four-year term, surpassing outgoing Councilwoman Donna Collins-…
Doug Welborn, who has served as the parish’s clerk of court since 1991, secured his eighth consecutive four-year term, defeating Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis.
During the campaign, he said that if he won another term he would strive to keep customer service at the forefront of the office's operations. The clerk of court is responsible for multiple administrative functions, including issuing marriage licenses, administering elections and processing civil suits.
Collins-Lewis, a Democrat in her third and final term on the Metro Council, took aim during the campaign at fiscal management and investigations into the use of credit cards at the office. Welborn countered by pointing out those investigations found no criminal negligence on his part and said he had addressed many of the concerns raised by state auditors.
East Baton Rouge's longtime sheriff, Sid Gautreaux, secured another term Saturday night, successfully fending off challenges from two Democrat…
Dr. Beau Clark, who has served as the parish’s coroner since 2011, won a third term Saturday night. He was challenged by Dr. Rani Whitfield, a Democrat who has run a private family practice in Baton Rouge since 2000.
The Coroner's Office is responsible for investigations involving deaths, mental health and sexual assault, as well as providing forensic pathology services. State law requires the coroner be a licensed physician.
During the campaign, Clark said he hoped to be reelected so he could complete staff training in pediatric forensic sexual assault examinations, work toward preventing cases of sudden infant death syndrome, and make sure those with mental illness are treated rather than incarcerated.
East Baton Rouge Parish Assessor Brian Wilson, a Republican, secured a fifth four-year term Saturday evening. He staved off a challenge from D…
In highlighting his strides so far, Clark said he was the first coroner to publish annual reports highlighting statistics from his office, increased self-generated revenue from 9% to 26%, implemented an electronic procedure to process death certificates, and sounded the alarm on the parish's rising opioid crisis, resulting in new legislation and awareness.
Brian Wilson, the parish’s assessor, secured a fifth four-year term, staving off a challenge from Democrat Jonathan Holloway, an attorney who once served as the general counsel for the state's Licensing Board for Contractors.
During the campaign, Wilson said he planned to continue his fair approach in assessing property values for taxpayers and maintain his office's mantra of being accessible to everyone in the parish.
Wilson, who was first elected in 2002, said his biggest challenge in office thus far revolved around the 2016 floods when he and his team took on the task of tagging all the properties that flooded — which he said involved a coordinated effort between the city-parish and federal agencies.