NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New campaign finance reports are public, and the men and women vying to become the next mayor of New Orleans are not only in a race against each other, but also against the clock.
Election Day is Oct. 14.
"In reality, it's really not one month. Early voting starts the end of September, and that's going to be very critical in terms of determining interest, turnout," said pollster and political analyst Silas Lee.
Lee was paid for some early research for candidate Latoya Cantrell.
"The top three remain Charbonnet, Cantrell and Bagneris," Lee said.
Money-wise, candidate Desiree' Charbonnet began the period covering July 7 through Sept. 4 with $645,000 in her war chest. However, Charbonnet's Sept. 14 campaign finance report shows total contributions of $352,482, and funds on hand at the close of the reporting period at $491,392.
Michael Bagneris had $180,204 at the start of the period covering July 7 through Sept. 13. Bagneris' Sept.14 report submitted to the state shows he had contributions totaling $260,475 and funds on hand at the close of the reporting period of $103,479.
Candidate LaToya Cantrell had $182,606 at the beginning of the reporting period covering July 7 to Sept. 4, and according to her Sept. 14 campaign finance filing, total contributions were $140,515. Her funds on hand, according to the latest report, were $125, 689.
Troy Henry, another candidate, had zero funds at the start of the reporting period. But the campaign finance report he filed on Sept. 12 shows contributions of $25, 880, with funds on hand at the close of the reporting period amounting to $4,945.
"In reality, you have three to four competitive candidates, and you don't see any candidate right now where they're polling like in the 45 percent range, so depending on the timing of the surveys the lead will rotate, so each of the three candidates they share a top spot," said Lee.
"They need to understand our drainage system as a system, that it doesn't start and end with the pumping stations," said Dana Eness, executive director of Urban Conservancy.
The group held a mayoral candidates' forum Thursday evening and wanted to hear where the candidates stood on water and green program issues.
"Understanding that the water is our greatest challenge but it's also a great opportunity for economic development for job growth within the green sector," said Eness.
Conventional wisdom says there will be a runoff in November, so experts said the electorate should expect the candidates to fight hard to land the two coveted runoff spots.
"We're looking at a very intense next two and a half weeks where candidates will be aggressively trying to be visible in the media, engaging in community activities to enhance enthusiasm as well as galvanize supporters," said Lee.
Businessman and candidate Frank Scurlock is listed on some campaign reports as having donated to some of the major candidates. He told FOX 8 News he did it in a "spirit of unity."
There are 18 candidates in all.