Race for New Orleans City Council heats up

Published: Dec. 11, 2013 at 3:37 AM CST|Updated: Jun. 29, 2016 at 8:56 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS - The race is heating up for seats on the New Orleans City Council. On the eve of qualifying, one political analyst explains why some of the candidates have a clear advantage over the others.

With 24 years of experience under her belt, Jackie Clarkson announced Tuesday she'd run for New Orleans City Council one more time. Currently serving as president in the at-large seat, Clarkson wants to replace Kristin Palmer to represent District C.

Clarkson explains, "A lot of progress has yet to be made because this Council has been the best Council I've ever served on, and I've served on many, but this Council has brought this city and this district further than its ever been, and we still have a long way to go."

Clarkson says she was urged by Mayor Mitch Landrieu to run. Her lone opponent at this time is retired Judge Nadine Ramsey.

"People are looking for change. They're looking for fresh blood and new faces and that's what we offer in this campaign," said Ramsey.

UNO political scientist Ed Chervenak says some people are critical of the same faces popping up over and over again on the Council year after year, but he adds that right now New Orleanians appear to be happy with the state of things in the city.

"People tend to be satisfied, they feel that the city is on the right trajectory so that will give an advantage to anyone in office right now," Chervenak said.

In addition to Ramsey, there's just one other person running for a seat that hasn't served before - defense attorney Jason Williams. He's trying to win an at-large seat.

Another familiar face is also returning to the race. Former Council member Cynthia Willard-Lewis, who announced she's running for District E.

Chervenak says of Willard-Lewis, "Very well known, a proven vote getter, the question is, is whether her time has kind of passed by her, that she may be a candidate from a previous regime, seems people in District E may have moved on."

Willard-Lewis will face incumbent James Gray, who won his seat in a special election after Jon Johnson stepped down.

Ed Chervenak says with open seats and so many familiar candidates, he thinks this election will draw out lots of voters.

When voters head to the polls on Feb. 1, they'll also cast ballots for the mayoral race and for Orleans Parish sheriff.