Campaign finance reports for early mayoral candidates show Charbonnet with financial advantage

Campaign finance reports for early mayoral candidates show Charbonnet with financial advantage

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Some who want to be the city's next mayor were off and running weeks before official qualifying for the race began.

Newly released campaign finance reports give insight into how well they were doing raising funds.

"Desiree Charbonnet was the latest entrant of the major candidates into the field but has taken a dominance when it comes to fundraising," said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman.

The latest campaign finance reports covered the period that ended July 6.  That is before qualifying began or ended, so the field of candidates was not cemented and some donors were not in the game.

Charbonnet, a former Municipal Court judge, received $870, 931.94. She spent thousands and had on hand $645,012,61 at the close of the reporting period.

City Councilman Latoya Cantrell had total receipts of $155, 906.00. She previously had raised thousands of dollars, so according to the campaign finance report her funds on hand at the close of the reporting period were $193,063.76.

"LaToya Cantrell was out early in this race, so she's raised a lot of money over the past year, but as we enter the home stretch she sits with less than $200,000. She's going to look for a much bigger fund-raising haul during this next  cycle," said Sherman.

Former Civil Court Judge Michael Bagneris reported total receipts of $197, 725.00, and like the others, he spent money. Funds on hand at the close of the reporting period were $180, 204.15.

"Bad news for Michael Bagneris is that he has not received much of a response from the donor community. He has now stepped up putting in an additional $100,000 of his own money to keep his campaign funded," Sherman stated.

Businessman and first-time candidate Frank Scurlock infused $626, 725.84 into his campaign.

Qualifying ended with 18 mayoral candidates.

"The number of candidates has a huge impact and have a huge impact on spending, because what all these candidates need to do between now and the primary is differentiate themselves, and they need to do that with awareness," said John Deveney, president of longtime branding and marketing firm Deveney.

Deveney, a veteran at getting honed messages out, said with election day in October, the candidates have a lot working against them.

"You can accomplish a lot if you have either a lot of time, or a lot of money.  In this case they're going to need a lot of money," said Deveney.

"The two late entrants, Tommie Vassel and Troy Henry, all eyes on them to see will they affect this race in any way," said Sherman.

And even though some of the mayoral candidates are off to a good start in terms of raising campaign dollars, much more will be needed to wage a successful campaign for mayor of New Orleans.

"A healthy mayoral campaign is likely going to spend north of $2 million," said Sherman.

"They're going to have to have a fully integrated communications strategy.  They will be on the social channels," said Deveney.

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