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Court disqualifies Councilwoman Tara Wicker from mayoral election, appeal planned

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BATON ROUGE - East Baton Rouge Councilwoman Tara Wicker's mayoral campaign has been cut short after a court ruling declared she could not run due to a lack of evidence showing she paid two years' worth of income taxes.

According to court documents, the appeals court reversed a previous decision in the 19th Judicial District Court that allowed Wicker to remain in the race. Wicker said she plans to appeal the decision.

During a news conference Thursday, Wicker said the lawsuit leading to the decision was spearheaded by her political rivals. She specifically pointed a finger at Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's office.

A mayor's office spokesperson later released a statement responding to Wicker's comments.

“This issue is in the hands of the courts - not Mayor Broome. The issue of whether she filed her taxes in a timely matter has nothing to do with the Mayor. The Mayor welcomes all legitimate candidates in this contest. These are baseless claims from Ms. Wicker. Mayor Broome's sole focus right now is to manage the city during this pandemic. She will not let Ms. Wicker's political sideshow distract from that.” 

In a follow-up statement, a spokesperson denied any involvement on the part of the mayor. 

"The Mayor’s team declined to participate in the lawsuit and has had no involvement - financially or otherwise - in the litigation against Ms. Wicker."

Wicker had announced her campaign for Baton Rouge mayor back in June. 

If Wicker's appeal is unsuccessful, the field of mayoral candidates will include incumbent Sharon Weston Broome, Steve Carter, "E Eric" Guirard, C. Denise Marcelle, Jordan Piazza, Frank Smith III and Matt Watson.

Guirard responded to the court's decision in a statement Thursday, calling it a "shame."

You can view the full decision here.

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