Monroe mayor to run for Congress

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo speaks during the 5th District Forum sponsored by the East Feliciana Parish Democratic Executive Committee during the last campaign for the congressional seat. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo speaks during the 5th District Forum sponsored by the East Feliciana Parish Democratic Executive Committee during the last campaign for the congressional seat.

Mayo first Democrat to challenge McAllister

“Mayor (Jamie) Mayo has the most impressive body of work among all of the candidates, and he represents the best chance for the Democrats to win this seat.” State Rep. Marcus Hunter, of Monroe, who also ran for the 5th District seat in the fall

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo announced Wednesday that he would run again to represent the 5th congressional district in Congress.

He’s the first Democrat to announce he would challenge U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Swartz, in the Nov. 4 election. McAllister, who has been hampered by being caught kissing a married aide, announced last week that he would run for reelection.

Mayo touted his administration of Louisiana’s eighth largest city since assuming office in 2001.

“During my administration in Monroe, we have attained the best fiscal condition in the city’s history with a $14 million fund balance and an A+ bond rating. We are expecting our 10th consecutive budget surplus in the fiscal year ending April 30th,” Mayo said. As mayor, he attracted a number of companies to northeast Louisiana.

“My challenge is to get my message across about the climate we created in Monroe and tell people that this is the type environment we want to create for the 5th district,” Mayo said.

The district, which includes northeast and central Louisiana along with the rural areas of the Florida parishes, is one of the poorest in the nation. Mayo said he has a track record of creating jobs while being fiscally responsible in Monroe.

Mayo came within 3,071 votes of making the runoff in the October 2013 special election to replace Rodney Alexander, who abruptly resigned in the middle of his sixth two-year term. There were 14 candidates, including four Democrats, who received a total of 30,931 votes. Only 22 percent of the district’s 481,671 registered voters turned out on the pleasant fall afternoon that coincided with opening of deer season in many parishes.

He raised and spent about $45,000 in the 2013 race.

McAllister, who was making his first bid for public office, slipped into the runoff, then with Mayo’s help trounced frontrunner Neil Riser, a Republican state senator from Columbia.

Mayo said he had not planned on running again. But he started receiving calls from supporters urging him to run after McAllister was caught on surveillance cameras kissing a married staffer.

Those calls, and the possibly of being the only Democrat, persuaded him to change his mind, Mayo said.

One of the other Democratic Party contenders in last year’s contest, state Rep. Marcus Hunter, of Monroe, endorsed Mayo. “Mayor Mayo has the most impressive body of work among all of the candidates, and he represents the best chance for the Democrats to win this seat,” Hunter said in a prepared statement.

Six candidates have announced they are running. In addition to McAllister, the other announced candidates are Republican Ralph Abraham, of Alto; Republican businessman Harris Brown, of Monroe; Republican businessman Zach Dasher, of Monroe; Republican former District Attorney Ed Tarpley, of Alexandria; and Libertarian Clay Grant, of Boyce.