Ida-Triggered Election Postponement Brings New Challenges to New Orleans Candidates | Local politics



A month ago, New Orleans city candidates were hosting meetings, filming commercials, and coming up with sweeping solutions to violent crime, high housing costs and other problems in the city.

But three weeks after Hurricane Ida turned life in southeast Louisiana upside down and caused the state to delay the October election, those candidates had to hit the reset button.

Ida offered the incumbents the chance to be visible champions of the city’s recovery, although she put their decisions in the aftermath of the storm – and their oversight of garbage collection and other services – under one microscope. Meanwhile, the hiatus gave the challengers more time to build a case against the current political class.

After New Orleans was left in the dark for days after Hurricane Ida, city council members are now looking for ways to force Entergy, rat …

Money also remains a major concern for everyone involved. Better-funded campaigns tend to fare better as the election season wears on, while those with fewer resources must figure out how to get the most value for their money.

“There are winners and losers because of the delay of candidates, but not a single voter ends up losing because of the postponement of this election,” said Mary-Patricia Wray, who represents the candidates for city council Rella Zapatal , who shows up for the district. The B seat currently held by Jay Banks and Frank Perez, who is running for the District C seat now held by Kristin Gisleson Palmer.

The primaries for the mayor, city council, sheriff, assessor, clerk of the criminal court and 102nd district state representative will be held on November 13, five weeks after the original October 9 election date. The second round, if necessary, begins on December 11. Early voting for the November primary will run from October 30 to November 6.

Residents of St. Tammany Parish wishing to vote for or against the proposed casino just south of Slidell will have to wait an additional month to…

Candidates and political consultants this week said postponing the election was Gov. John Bel Edwards’ right move. Residents of the hurricane-affected area, they said, have little taste for politics. But they also argued that it would force everyone to recalibrate the way they attracted voters.

A Cantrell ad campaign published on Sept. 8, for example, showed the mayor reflecting on the fact that Ida had not crippled New Orleans like Hurricane Katrina did in 2005. The ad then declared Cantrell “the leader of our time “.

Cantrell did take some heat for the patchy waste pickups before and after the storm, however. The mayor announced this week that she was sending city workers to haul the trash after an emergency request for proposals from private trash carriers went unanswered.

At the council, Helena Moreno, Jared Brossett and others pledged to investigate the performance of Entergy, the city’s electric utility, during the storm. District A council member Joe Giarrusso spent the days after the storm tweeting complaints of outages from residents in Entergy, and Palmer was on hand during the evacuation of one of the living centers for old people of the city.

Sheriff Marlin Gusman sent his deputies to help the city’s anti-looting initiative after the lights went out.

Hurricane Ida arrived in Louisiana on Sunday just as painful as announced: winds of 150 mph, some of the most violent to ever hit the American coasts,…

Yet none of this means current office holders should feel more confident, said Wray, who helped manage the governor’s successful campaign in 2015. Challengers may raise questions about whether office holders were watching enough the city’s utilities and contractors who aroused the ire of residents.

In the most high-profile race of the season, for General City Council, District Council members Brossett and Palmer face off in addition to former State Senator JP Morrell.

As town work crews went out to help pick up the piles of trash bags scattered across town on Friday, Morrell tweeted that he had spent the day volunteering to pick up the trash bags as well. He posted photos and argued that carriers “need better pay and better equipment.”

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Palmer said Ida made some new challenges for the city clear. As someone with disaster recovery experience, she said she was in the best position to help resolve these issues.

“Going into this realm, violent crime was the # 1 problem,” Palmer said. “Right now we are facing a lot of issues with our infrastructure – and not just Entergy, but green infrastructure, issues with sanitation collection and whether the people who doing this essential work are paid the way they need to be. “

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has built a formidable war chest in his campaign for a second term, even though he lacks a high-level challenge …

For his part, Brossett said he wrote to the Biden administration to push for upgrades to power transmission and that he had been “on the ground” since Ida began working for. provide its constituents in District D with resources and information.

But Morrell believes Ida and the government’s response to it will make voters think about electing new voices.

“I think the public, in their frustration with what’s going on right now, are probably looking more at a change in the board,” he said.

City council candidate JP Morrell on Monday released a plan to tackle rising crime rates in the city, calling for a unit focused on …

One open question is how the city’s ongoing takeover will impact voter turnout.

“Everyone is overwhelmed. They are overwhelmed by Ida. They are overwhelmed by COVID. They are also overwhelmed by the continued threat of storm activity,” said Devin Johnson, consultant for Gusman, assessor Errol Williams and others.

Hurricane Katrina was the latest storm to force postponement of municipal and municipal elections in the city, from February to April 2006. Yet about 37% of voters turned out in a race between incumbent mayor Ray Nagin , to a well-known adversary, then Lieutenant-Governor Mitch Landrieu.

About the same percentage of people participated in the 2014 mayors and city council races, which were unaffected by the storms and which also featured an outgoing mayor, Landrieu, seeking a second term. He managed to avoid a leak.

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Hurricane Ida is now the latest entry on Louisiana’s list of most devastating encounters with the tropical climate, joining a pantheon of St.

Participation aside, some candidates may be better placed than others to resist a weeks extension of their campaigns.

Cantrell raised more than $ 409,000 in contributions in the three months ending in June, and at least $ 615,000 in total this year, according to a July campaign fundraising report.

His opponents did not come close to that goal and were not visible before or after the storm, except for a handful of signs around the city. It’s unclear if the extra five weeks will allow any of them to mount a more formidable challenge.

Meanwhile, city council candidates Morrell and Palmer raised at least $ 294,500 and $ 257,000 this year, respectively, while Brossett followed them with a distant $ 8,500 in June.

Candidates with thinner portfolios, Wray said, should have this concern: “If they were spending money on texting or on a door-to-door campaign, how do you make it last four more weeks?

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