KENNER, LA (WVUE) - Early voting numbers on the first day of voting for the March 23rd election rivaled the amount of votes on the first day of early voting during the 2016 Presidential Election in Kenner as residents came out to select a new mayor.
As nearly 2,300 people voted early across Jefferson Parish, 575 turned out in Kenner, just 83 short of the number who picked a president early in 2016.
In Kenner, the mayor's race is a top priority with short-time incumbent Ben Zahn vying to hold the seat he won during a special election in 2016. He thinks his experience representing Kenner makes him the best choice.
"My administration has worked with a majority of the council, the police chief, there have been no big upsets, I've had experience from a District 3 councilman, and District 4 councilman in the parish, looking over this area, most of Kenner and you are mayor of your district when you're that," Zahn said.
But newcomer Dona Reynaud, a registered nurse, is hoping the voters select new blood.
"Our city is dying and my skillset as a registered nurse in the emergency room and as a previous business owner, I know that revenue is important and I would try harder than anyone before to get new retail into Kenner to get us back on our feet and get going again," Reynaud said.
Al Morella, who ran in the previous mayor's race, said if elected this time around he'll focus on giving smaller businesses a real shot to be a part of moving Kenner forward.
"I don't take any campaign contributions, I'm independent, I don't owe anybody anything. The DBEs we got out here, the disadvantaged businesses enterprises, they will have a chance to get a contract with the city. They could probably save millions of dollars to the taxpayers," Morella said.
As the new airport terminal nears completion in the next few years, the candidates know Kenner is ripe to benefit form the expansion, something Reynaud said she's best suited to capitalize on the addition.
"I consider the New Orleans International Airport the gateway, the international gateway to New Orleans and there's no reason why we shouldn't be benefiting from that and I would work more closely with businesses owners and prospective business owners in accomplishing that," Reynaud said.
While Zahn said he's already working with legislative leaders to make key improvements near the airport and around the city, arguing his involvement positions him to be the best candidate for the job.
"I was making it very clear, we need some help for our flyover, we need some help for our fire station, we need help with Aberdeen and Bainbridge and Veterans, making sure the state hears our cries, it's things going on at the airport, like I said, things going on at the blighted shopping centers, we're making a difference," Zahn said.
Still, Morella said something needs to change, one reason why he plans to keep running.
"Just to give the people a choice and whatever choice they make, that's their decision, but they can never say well we didn't have a choice, we didn't have a voice," Morella said.