Both candidates in the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council District 2 race are touting their experience ahead of the Dec. 8 runoff.
Leroy Davis, a former mayor of Baker, and Chauna Banks-Daniel, a professional school counselor, are vying for the seat being vacated by Ulysses “Bones” Addison, who is term limited.
Banks-Daniel emerged from a crowded field in the Nov. 6 primary election, finishing first out of the eight candidates with 36 percent of the vote, according to complete but unofficial returns from the Secretary of State’s website.
Davis finished second with 18 percent, just 247 votes and two percent ahead of third-place finisher Corey Alfred.
Davis predicted the Dec. 8 election would look far different.
“Forty-six percent didn’t vote for either one of us,” he said. “I think I am very competitive.”
Davis said an expected lower turnout in an election with no presidential or mayoral election on the ballot would hurt Banks-Daniel more than it would him.
“Since the runoff, enthusiasm for me has increased,” he said. “I started late, she started earlier, now we are on an even keel,” he said.
Davis said his experience as a former councilman and mayor of Baker would serve him well on the Metro Council.
“Voters are looking closely at the candidates who have experience,” he said. “I am focusing more on what I am going to do.”
He said his past experience in helping to bring a Wal-Mart Supercenter to Baker would be particularly helpful in bringing a grocery store to the Scotlandville area, which both he and Banks-Daniel referred to as a “food desert.”
Davis said he would also focus attention on reducing crime in neighborhoods, improving area infrastructure and being accessible to constituents.
He criticized Banks-Daniel, a political newcomer, for not having the right kind of experience, a charge that made her bristle.
“If he means experience as a public servant, I have over 25 years of that,” Banks-Daniel said.
Banks-Daniel said she expected to carry her primary lead into the runoff.
“We are not slowing down in our momentum,” she said. “I led in all the precincts except one,” she said. That precinct was in Baker, she said, and she has reached out voters in that area.
Like Davis, Banks-Daniel said being responsive to District 2 residents is a key part of her platform.
“Residents want accessibility, somebody they can reach in office,” she said.
Banks-Daniel said the needs across District 2 are varied, and that a willingness to work with the different parts of the district is a key quality. If elected, Banks-Daniel would set up a District 2 advisory council to help communicate with residents in the district, she said.
One of the challenges Banks-Daniel said she faced after the primary was making sure her supporters were aware that her large lead in the primary did not mean she had been elected to the council seat.
“Because I had such a huge lead, people think I won,” she said. “I have to make sure the residents know there is a runoff.”
District 2 includes Scotlandville and Baker.