NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There's a huge field of candidates for the mayoral election in New Orleans. Eighteen people qualified Friday, but one person whose name you won't see on that list could still have an impact on the race.
Local businessman Sidney Torres said it was a tough decision not to run.
"The people deserve somebody who can give a 100% of it and do a 100% of the job because it's a major job and it's the number one job in the city as far as straightening it out and getting it on the right track," said Torres.
But he still plans to be very involved in the election and afterward.
"What I want to do during the campaign is when we look at the platforms and we study the platforms, we want to bring in experts from other cities that they're using to say this worked over here, and we want to ask the people of that city does it really work and can this plan be implemented, can it be executed," said Torres.
Torres has formed a political action committee called The Voice of the People. And to make sure it's just that, Torres said those on the board will have to sign an agreement that they can't do business with the city. That will continue for five years after they're off the board.
"Sometimes consultants write plans as I say the 'Cadillac Plan,' you can't implement it, it's hard to execute, it's too expensive and for a city like ours that doesn't have a lot of money. We have to have someone that can implement and execute, and so what the PAC is going to do is basically call out if it's good were going to call it good and were going to say yes it checks out," said Torres.
Torres says the PAC will conduct polling every month during the election and afterward to find out what the voters want.
"It's people from different neighborhoods throughout the city that sit on this board, we meet once a month, we have a pollster that polls the issues every month and we bring these things to the table, we talk about them, we ask the tough questions and we hold the politicians accountable for what we expect as far as residents of the city," said Torres.
Political analyst Silas Lee said there's no question Torres' PAC will have an impact.
"One he has name recognition, he is well liked, he definitely has the ability if not to use his resources but to raise resources so, he's been to this dance before and he knows how it's done," said Lee.
But Lee said The Voice of the People won't be the only PAC in this election. And, he said those PACS will be important; to see who they influence and who they support.
"But we haven't had this before, just like we haven't had two women candidates who were serious contenders before, so there are two firsts in this election, two serious women candidates and the role of PACS," said Lee.
Those candidates include City Council member Latoya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet, who gave up her judgeship in Municipal Court to run. Another familiar name running is former Civil Court Judge Michael Bagneris.
"So PACS have the freedom for these independent expenditures to do research and lots of advertising. Certainly not all PACS are equal, but they do have that freedom," said Lee.
Lee said crime will overwhelmingly be the number one issue in this election, something Torres said he plans to address.
"Crime is at an all-time high, the number one thing that has to happen right now is we have to hold people accountable, we have to have transparency and we have to have follow thru," said Torres.
It's a very crowded field, virtually guaranteeing that once all the votes are counted after the primary, we'll be looking at a run-off on Nov. 18.
The 18 candidates also include businessman Troy Henry, who ran in 2010, and Tommy Vassel, who once filled a brief stint on the Orleans Parish School Board and an appointment to the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.
The primary is set for Oct. 14.