New Orleans qualifying begins tomorrow, many city council seats up for grabs

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 4:46 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The qualifying period for the New Orleans elections in the fall begins Wednesday, July 14, until Friday, July 16. With many city council seats open, the big unknown is if a recognizable name will challenge Mayor Cantrell for her job.

The next 72 hours could bring some answers.

“So the big question on everyone’s mind is whether the mayor will get a challenger. I think this election is ripe for a last-minute surprise,” said Fox 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman. “They need to have name recognition, a strong message, and an ability to raise a lot of money fast to be a serious contender. I think that’s why we haven’t seen anyone oppose her who’s a big name just yet because the mayor’s approval rating is so strong.”

Sherman said the “surprise” candidate must be a major candidate who can actually launch a serious challenge.

Campaign finance numbers released Tuesday show Cantrell raised more than $1.6 million, and the latest poll numbers show the mayor sitting with a 62 percent approval rating. This is something Dillard University Political Analyst Dr. Robert Collins said is fairly stable.

“It is very difficult to knock off an incumbent mayor on the city of New Orleans because of the structural advantages of the job. Which is why, you know, we have not had an incumbent knocked off since the 1960′s,” said Dr. Collins.

Dr. Collins tells Fox 8, Chep Morrison was the last incumbent to leave office before the end-of-term in 1961; he was not actually defeated. He resigned the office to take an ambassadorship. The last incumbent mayor to lose a reelection campaign was Robert Maestri in 1946.

Dr. Collins said of course there are some voters who don’t agree with the Mayor’s approval rating, but he believes those voters are unhappy with certain issues such as crime-- which continues to rise.

“If the mayor were to get a challenger, a surprise challenger, this week, I would imagine it would be somebody running on that issue,” said Collins.

But he said it would be just that-- a surprise-- and he said it would be unusual for someone to challenge the mayor who has already established a strong campaign.

Both political analysts say this week will be a busy week for city council qualifying.

They suggest voters strongly pay attention to those candidates running for the council member at large seat, saying those candidates are most likely running for mayor four years from now.

The qualifying period ends this Friday and the election is October 9, 2021.

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