Baton Rouge business community’s heavy hitters still up in the air on mayoral race

Business Report

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, the political season is officially underway. But the Baton Rouge mayoral race has yet to capture the imagination of many in a city preoccupied with cleaning up from last month’s flood—and at least one heavy hitter says he’ll likely sit this one out.

Political activist and businessman Lane Grigsby, founder and retired CEO of Cajun Industries, says at this point he doesn’t plan to throw his considerable muscle—and financial support— behind any of the 12 candidates in the race, at least not during the primary.

“I haven’t seen anything on the part of the candidates that stands out,” says Grigsby, whose nod of support is highly sought after by candidates in local and statewide races. “I’m not motivated by any of them and I know them all well.”

Grigsby says he has met personally with all the candidates at length, as was his plan, and that he’d hoped to settle on a candidate by Labor Day but couldn’t come to a decision. Though he leaves open the possibility that he might end up backing someone before the primary, it isn’t likely.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s political action committee has also not yet endorsed a mayoral candidate, but BRAC is still working through a lengthy interview process. Each of the candidates was asked to complete a written questionnaire detailing their positions on key issues. Those questionnaires are due this week.

Conventional political wisdom still holds that the race will be a two-person contest between state Sen. Mack “Bodi” White, a white Republican from Central, and former State Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, a black Democrat from north Baton Rouge. They led the pack in the latest campaign finance reports, but no independent polls have been released so it’s hard to say for sure.

Other candidates mounting credible campaigns are Republican Metro Councilman John Delgado, independent realtor Darryl Gissel and Democratic state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle.

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