After Turning Baton Rouge Into A Shooting Gallery, Is Sharon Weston Broome Running For Governor?

We heard that rumor over the weekend, and we couldn’t help but to pass it along. It’s absurd, of course, but if you’re Sharon Weston Broome and you’ve won every election you’ve run in, perhaps you might consider it.

After all, it’s pretty clear that your poor performance hasn’t hurt you politically. Nobody seems to blame Broome for this

Not even 10 days into a new year yet, the violence in Baton Rouge shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s been a violent weekend in the city and even on Sunday, BRPD officers have responded to at least five shootings, starting in the morning. 

Around 10:30am, officers went to Government St. between Marquette & S. Carrollton avenues for a shooting, specifically, the scene started on Apartment Court Dr., but ended on Government St. Two people were shot, both suffering life-threatening injuries and rushed to a hospital. Officials say someone in a vehicle started shooting at people in another car. The victims’ vehicle had several bullet holes holes. Police found one person in the back of the vehicle shot and a second victim was found in a carport.

Shortly after, a man who had been shot ran into the Super 8 Motel on Reulet Ave. near I-12 and asked someone working at the motel to call police saying he had been shot.

Around 1:30pm on N. Marque Ann Dr. between S. Choctaw & Florida Blvd., there were numerous reports of shots fired with a homeowner saying her driveway was full of shell casings.

Shortly after 2pm at a Circle K on N. Lobdell, after several shots were fired outside the store, a clerk found a 14-yr-old teen dead on the side of the store. That is the second homicide for the year in BR.

Just after 4pm, officers rushed to Dallas Dr. near S. Choctaw for a man shot who also died, making it the third homicide of 2022.

These five shootings come on the heels of four other shootings in Baton Rouge on Saturday, Jan. 8th. Plus, what started as a possibly kidnapping in the city turned into a man who allegedly threatened EBR deputies and was ultimately shot and killed around 4pm on Jan. 8th at the Springbrook apartments on George O’Neal.

Saturday, Jan. 8th around 4am, officers went to a BR hospital for a man shot, but the information provided to officials did not match the evidence. Instead, the man told officers he was at the wrong place at the wrong time when two men started arguing and shooting and he was hit by one of their bullets. However, officers found no evidence of a shooting at the scene the victim indicated.

Then around 4pm on Jefferson Ave. just off Plank Rd., a man told BRPD that he saw someone breaking into a relative’s vehicle. When he attempted to take matters into his own hands and chase the suspect, the suspect shot at him grazing him in the leg. 

Around 7:30pm, there was a drive-by shooting on N. Acadian Thruway near Zion St. The victim told officers someone drove by his car and shot, but he was not hit.

Just as the day was wrapping up, around 11:30pm on N. Sherwood Forest near Florida Blvd., two women were sitting in a car when they said they noticed some suspicious people walking their way. She said as she started to drive off, they started shooting at her vehicle multiple times. The driver was shot but the passenger in her car did not get shot.

The city’s economy is moribund and Baton Rouge is shrinking. One of the most productive parts of East Baton Rouge Parish voted to become the city of St. George, and after losing the election in which the people chose to incorporate the city Broome has taken them to court. The trial to determine whether the will of the people gets to prevail starts today.

She’s had a more or less pristine record of governmental failure going all the way back to her time as a member of the Baton Rouge Metro Council in the late 1980’s (elected as a state representative in 1991 and then to the state senate in 2004 before getting elected mayor-president in 2016), but Broome never seems to lose an election. She’s got no incentive to get better as Baton Rouge’s mayor-president and no incentive not to grasp for the next brass ring.

Why not run for governor?

There will be a black Democrat in that race next year. The question is whether said black Democrat is a Gary Chambers/LaToya Cantrell-style firebrand or somebody more palatable to the “centrist” voters who elected John Bel Edwards twice.

Broome’s theory, if the rumors are true, would be the latter. She gets white voters pulling levers for her all the time. She got 25 percent of the white vote against Bodi White in the 2016 mayoral election, and then she got more than that against Steve Carter in the 2020 mayor’s race.

If Broome can get all of the black vote and a quarter of the white vote in the governor’s race, she’s not far from 50 percent depending on turnout. If she can get a John Bel Edwards 2019 waterfall among black voters and run the black vote up to 32 or 33 percent of the electorate, and get more or less all of it, and then pull a little more than a quarter of the white vote, she’s over 50.

Of course, the question is whether the rest of the state’s white folks would vote the way white people in East Baton Rouge Parish, a lot of whom are university employees and state workers, are willing to do. We’re rather dubious about that. We’re also not sure that black voters in New Orleans would come out of the woodwork to support Broome. There’s a little bit of rivalry at work which would have to be overcome.

But Broome is at least a plausible candidate. She’s a moron, but she’s polite and reasonably inoffensive. She could cozy up to the massive hospital lobby with promises of more easy government cash and cement herself as the candidate of the status quo like Edwards did in 2015 and 2019.

We could completely see this happening, and we could completely see an all-out effort by Edwards’ coalition to get Broome into the governor’s mansion.

We don’t think she can win, but on the other hand she’s got nothing to lose. She isn’t up for her third term as mayor-president until 2024, so an LAGOV run next year is a free shot for her.

If she does run, though, her opponents are going to want to hang all those shootings and murders on her. It’s gotten absolutely out of hand around here.

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