Kip Holden

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Kip Holden
Mayor-President of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish[fn 1]
In office
January 3, 2005 – December 31, 2016
Preceded byBobby Simpson
Succeeded bySharon Weston Broome
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 15th district
In office
Preceded byWilson Fields
Succeeded bySharon Weston Broome
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 63rd district
In office
Preceded byJewel Joseph Newman
Succeeded byAvon Honey
Personal details
Melvin Lee Holden

(1952-08-12) August 12, 1952 (age 66)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Lois Stevenson
EducationLouisiana State University, Baton Rouge (BA)
Southern University, Baton Rouge (MA, JD)

Melvin Lee Holden, known as Kip Holden (born August 12, 1952), is an American politician who served from 2005 to 2016 as the Democratic Mayor-President of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, USA. The parish includes the state capital of Baton Rouge and smaller suburban cities such as Baker, Central City, and Zachary.

He was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate in the November 21, 2015 race for lieutenant governor. Victory went to the Republican Billy Nungesser.

He vacated his position as Mayor-President at the end of 2016 and was succeeded by Sharon Weston Broome, another member of the Democratic Party.[1]


Holden was elected mayor-president on November 3, 2004, when he unseated the Republican incumbent, Bobby Simpson of Baker. Holden was inaugurated on January 3, 2005.

The 2004 race was Holden's third attempt to win the mayor-presidency. In 1996, he had failed in a bid to unseat Democrat-turned-Republican Mayor-President Tom Ed McHugh of Zachary, later the executive director of the Louisiana Municipal Association.

Holden's election as the first African-American Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish was fostered through the support of his urban black base but also with substantial support from suburban whites, many being Republicans. Support from the latter group was buoyed by backing from Jim Bernhard, CEO of The Shaw Group, and several other figures in business and industry. The dissatisfaction with Mayor-President Simpson was demonstrated in dramatic fashion by the fact that President Bush received 54 percent of the parish vote in his re-election campaign, and then U.S. Representative Richard Hugh Baker received 69 percent. In the same election Holden matched Bush's 54 percent parishwide total.

On taking office, Holden retained Walter Monsour, a Republican lawyer originally from Shreveport, as the chief administrative officer, even though Monsour had supported Simpson's reelection. Monsour told Holden that he would take the position if Holden agreed to treat all areas of the parish equally whether or not those precincts voted for Holden. Monsour had held the same post twenty years earlier in 1985 under then Democratic Mayor-President Pat Screen and was credited with resolving fiscal problems that developed in Screen's second term.[2] Early in 2009, Monsour stepped down as CAO and was replaced by his assistant, former Republican State Representative Mike Futrell, a native of Baton Rouge.[3] In 2012, Holden tapped a former mayoral rival from 2004, William Daniel, as the chief administrative officer, a position which Daniel still holds. Daniel is a petroleum engineer and a former state representative for District 68 in East Baton Rouge Parish.[4]

Holden is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[5] an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by Mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York City and Thomas Menino of Boston, Massachusetts.

In 2008, Holden was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[6]

Professional history[edit]

Previous to his political career, Holden was a journalist and later an attorney. His resume reads, accordingly:


2012 campaign[edit]

Holden handily won reelection in the nonpartisan blanket primary held in conjunction with the national election on November 6, 2012. One of his opponents, Republican J. Michael "Mike" Walker, Sr., a member of the Metro Council, questioned Holden and the city-parish for having provided security services for Louis Farrakhan when the Nation of Islam spokesman addressed a group on October 3 at Southern University. Walker's advertisement includes a video of Farrakhan thanking Holden and the police chief for security services and Farrakhan's escort to Baton Rouge from the airport in New Orleans.[9]

With 115,305 votes (60 percent), Holden defeated three opponents. Walker finished second with 65,972 ballots (34.3 percent). Two Independents held the remaining 5.7 percent of the vote.[10]

2015 campaign[edit]

In August 2014, Holden announced that he was seeking the position of lieutenant governor in 2015, as the incumbent Republican Jay Dardenne, also of Baton Rouge, challenged U.S. Senator David Vitter for the right to succeed the term-limited Republican Governor Bobby Jindal as well as the front-running Democratic candidate John Bel Edwards. Holden's opponents included three Republicans: State Senator Elbert Guillory of St. Landry Parish, who spoke out against the unsuccessful re-election bid of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in the 2014 election; John Young, president of Jefferson Parish; and Billy Nungesser, the former president of Plaquemines Parish and former candidate for lieutenant governor in 2011. The position is focused upon the promotion of tourism in Louisiana.[11][12]

Holden led the four-candidate field in the primary with 360,679 votes (33.3 percent), qualifying him to face Nungesser in a runoff, who finished second in the primary with 324,654 votes (30 percent). In a strong third-place was John Young, who polled 313,183 votes (28.9 percent). Departing State Senator Elbert Guillory ran last with 85,460 votes (7.9 percent).[13] In the second round of balloting, Nungesser finished with 628,864 votes (55.4 percent) to Holden's 506,578 (44.6 percent). Holden nevertheless was an easy winner in populous Orleans and East Baton Rouge parishes.[14]

In 2016, Holden, who was term-limited as Mayor-President in Baton Rouge, ran unsuccessfully for Louisiana's 2nd congressional district seat held by fellow Democrat Cedric Richmond. Holden finished with only 20 percent of the ballots cast to Richmond's 70 percent.[15] Sharon Weston Broome, who had succeeded Holden in the state Senate, also succeeded him as Mayor-President after her 52-48 percent victory over Republican state Senator Bodi White in the runoff election held on December 10, 2016.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Holden is one of five children, two deceased, of the late Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Lee Holden, Sr. He has two sisters, Evelyn and Brenda Holden. His older brother, Curtis Holden, Jr. (1950-2013), a native of Woodville, Mississippi, was a retired employee of the Baton Rouge municipal public works department.[17] Prior to his death from complications resulting from two strokes, Curtis Holden, Jr., had operated Holden's Powerhouse, a family-owned bar in the Scotlandville neighborhood of Baton Rouge.[18]

Married to the former Lois Stevenson, Holden has five children, Melvin, II, Monique, Angela, Myron, and Brian-Micheal.


  1. ^ The office of "Mayor-President" in the Baton Rouge area is an uncommon position in municipal governments that consolidates the executive offices of "Mayor of Baton Rouge" and "President of East Baton Rouge Parish". Though the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish have a consolidated government, this differs from a traditional consolidated city-county government, as the cities of Zachary, Baker, and Central operate their own individual city governments within East Baton Rouge Parish.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "James E. Shelledy, "Walter Monsour, the most powerful man you've never voted for"". Archived from the original on August 31, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  3. ^ "Executive Orders: Mike Futrell". Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "Mayor Holden Names David Guillory Interim DPW Director". August 13, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  5. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members". Archived from the original on 2008-01-18. Retrieved on June 18, 2007
  6. ^ "Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
  7. ^ "Membership of the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 24, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  8. ^ "Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2016" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 13, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  9. ^ "Faimon Roberts, III, "Holden denounces ad"". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  10. ^ "Louisiana election returns, November 6, 2012". Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  11. ^ Rebekah Allen. "BR mayor Kip Holden says he's running for Lieutenant Gov". Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  12. ^ "Mayor announces campaign for lieutenant governor". Alexandria Town Talk. December 10, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "Results for Election Date: 10/24/2015". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  14. ^ "Results for Election Date: 11/21/2015". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  15. ^ "Election Results". Louisiana Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  16. ^ "Election Results". Louisiana Secretary of State. December 10, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  17. ^ "Curtis Lee Holden, Jr". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  18. ^ "Curtis Holden Jr., mayor's brother, dies". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2013.

External links[edit]

Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jewel Joseph Newman
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 63rd district

Succeeded by
Avon R. Honey
Louisiana State Senate
Preceded by
Wilson Fields
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 63rd district

Succeeded by
Sharon Weston Broome
Political offices
Preceded by
Bobby Simpson
Mayor-President of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish
Succeeded by
Sharon Weston Broome