Holden’s campaign report shows cash available, doesn’t disclose future plans

East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden ended 2013 with just more than $64,500 in his campaign war chest, but his annual campaign finance report filed this week doesn’t hold any direct clues as to Holden’s future political aspirations.

Holden, who can’t seek re-election to his office because of term limits, spent more than $83,500 from his campaign fund last year, but he has continued to take in contributions from supporters since winning his re-election bid in 2012.

Holden, a Democrat who is eyeing a run for lieutenant governor, held one fundraiser in 2013 — an annual event to mark his birthday in August, his spokeswoman Rannah Gray said. The event pulled in nearly $50,000, his finance report shows.

Gray said this week the mayor is still mulling a run for lieutenant governor.

“I think it’s something that he’s very much considering. It’s something that he gets an awful lot of encouragement to pursue,” Gray said.

If Holden pursues statewide office, the money from his campaign fund can be put toward that effort, according to the state Ethics Board.

Of the money his campaign spent between Jan. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013, more than $17,000 went toward expenses related to his third-term inauguration last January. The campaign fund also shelled out thousands for LSU tickets, hotel stays and dues to private clubs.

About $231 went toward a hotel room at the Grand Hyatt Taipei in Taiwan during an economic development trip; Holden spent $1,210 on three nights at the boutique Hotel Zaza in Dallas for the LSU-TCU football game in August; and another $997 went toward his stay at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans during the Bayou Classic in December.

Holden’s campaign fund paid $2,350 to the Washington D.C. Mystick Krewe of Louisianians for dues and tickets for Mardi Gras festivities there and about $1,320 for membership to the private Camelot Club.

More than $10,700 was paid to LSU for tickets and related contributions.

Gray said the mayor tries to keep costs down but often will spend money from his campaign fund, even when expenses could be seen as tied to an official duty.

“He’s always pretty careful about expenditures,” she said. “Sometimes he wants to do things in terms of economic development that he would rather pay for.”

His report shows he used the campaign fund to cover expenses tied to a video game conference, lunch for film prospects and costs for conferences he has attended, including the National League of Cities meeting in Washington, D.C.