Former state rep Ted James announces candidacy for Baton Rouge mayor

BATON ROUGE, La. – The 2024 East Baton Rouge Parish mayoral race is heating up after the first challenger to Mayor Sharon Weston Broome joined the fray Thursday morning.

Ted James, a Democrat and former state representative, announced his candidacy during a news conference at McKinley High School.

“I am the poster child for that proverb, ‘It took a village to raise me,'” James told the audience. “I’m standing here face-to-face with village. Baton Rouge, your native son is here today at this moment, ready, prepared, and able, and I am running to be your Mayor-President.”

James was rumored to run after he stepped down from his position as regional administrator for the Small Business Administration in January.

James oversaw SBA operations in Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Oklahoma in that role.

“Over the past two years, I’ve traveled, and I’ve watched what effective government is doing to raise the quality of life in places that don’t have a smidgeon of the resources we have in my beloved Baton Rouge,” he said. “I am running to create that culture of excellence that I’ve watched all across the country for the past two years. Baton Rouge, we can’t just hope for it. We’ve got to vote for it.”

The mayoral candidate mentioned recent violence in Baton Rouge, which included a pair of triple shootings Wednesday.

He talked about his approach to crime and what he’d like to implement.

“Too many people in our community don’t feel safe,” he said. “My administration will take a holistic approach to solving crime and keeping us safe. My administration will also recognize that we are not going to arrest our way out of this problem.”

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Mayor Broome confirmed her re-election bid in January. If re-elected, she would enter her third and final term as mayor.

James was asked about his decision to run against Broome, a political ally. He said 

“I’m not running against anyone,” he responded. Way too often, we allow the personal to get ahead of the vision. This race is not about my relationship with any individual person. This race is about my relationship with my hometown. I love her (Baton Rouge) enough to submit my name, and I’m submitting my name no matter who else enlists their name.”

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