Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Opportunities For Voters



Now that 2014 is finally here, we’re starting to see increased activity in some upcoming elections while still waiting for any activity in others. Incumbent Mayors in New Orleans and Kenner are seeking reelection and several current City Council members in both cities are hopping to different Council seats despite the intent of term-limits.

New Orleans
Mayor Mitch Landrieu is facing a real challenger in former Judge Michael Bagneris. Landrieu has already begun TV advertising trying to spread his “feel-good” message. While the murder rate in Orleans Parish did decline in 2013, crime is still rampant and on the public’s mind. Bagneris, while not able to match Landrieu’s formidable war chest, should be able to raise enough to offer voters a real option. This is a very short campaign and we’ll know in February whether the voters want change or more of the Landrieu Political Dynasty.

On the Council side, the announcement by District C Councilwoman Kristin Palmer that she will not be seeking reelection was a surprise. However, it was absolutely no surprise that term-limited Councilwoman-At-Large Jackie Clarkson threw her hat in the race to move back to the District C seat. Obviously the intent of term-limits has been lost on Ms. Jackie. Clarkson, who was a staunch supporter of the extension of the Crescent City Connection tolls that were trounced by voters in 2013 (and yet, the CCC hasn’t fallen down without the toll), is facing four other candidates including Judge Nadine Ramsey.

Term-limited District D Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge Morrell, also ignoring the intent of term-limits, is seeking to move to Clarkson’s At-Large seat.

The race for Sheriff also features a name from the past: Charles Foti. The former Sheriff and Attorney General is seeking to unseat incumbent Marlin Gusman.  

Early voting for these and other races including a new Coroner for the first time in decades, begins January 18th and the primary is February 1st.

Kenner
 Later this Spring, Kenner voters will have an opportunity to elect a new Mayor or reelect Mike Yenni, as well as choose or move several term-limited City Council members. 

While no real challenger has emerged to face Yenni, it is expected that at least one or, possibly several, challengers will jump in the race.

On the Council side, 5 of the 7 council members are term-limited including both At-Large seats and 3 District seats. The 3 term-limited District Councilmen (DeFranchesch, Denapolis and Stagni) are expected to run for the 2 At-Large seats. In fact, Mayor Yenni has already held fundraisers for DeFranchesch and Denapolis as well as District 3 Councilman Keith Reynaud.  Glad to see Mayor Yenni spreading the wealth from his contractor friends to enrich the coffers and buy the loyalty of several council members. Since his loyal voting block of Councilwomen-At-Large Jeannie Black and Michele Branigan are term-limited, the Mayor will need some new votes to keep ramming his will down the throats of Kenner residents. That is, if he is reelected.

Reynaud is seeking election to his first full term. District 1 Councilman Gregory Carroll is seeking reelection to his seat.


U.S. Congress/Senate

The Fall brings Federal elections for Congress and Senate.

In Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, Congressman Cedric Richmond (D) already has an announced challenger in Gary Landrieu. Landrieu, while also a Democrat, vows to oppose new taxes and provide economic opportunity to the District.

The Senate race is also heating as 4 announced candidates are already jockeying for position for Mary Landrieu’s seat.

Three Republicans, Congressman Bill Cassidy (Baton Rouge), Rob Maness (Madisonville) and newly-announced State Rep. Paul Hollis (Covington), along with Libertarian Brannon McMorris (Denham Springs), are seeking to unseat Democratic 3-term incumbent Landrieu.

2015

It’s never too early to look ahead to several big statewide races in 2015.

All eyes will be on Senator David Vitter (R) as he decides whether to leave the U.S. Senate and seek the Governor’s mansion. Current Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne (R) has already declared his intention to run for Governor and State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) is also rumored. On the Democratic side, State Rep. John Bel Edwards (Amite) is the only announced candidate.

Making his second attempt at the Lt. Governor’s job that will be vacated by Dardenne is Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser (R). Nungesser made national news in the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill and has long been a supporter of Louisiana and Louisiana residents. Most recently, Nungesser and Treasurer Kennedy were part of the Stop The Crescent City Connection Toll movement.

Making the Lt. Governor’s race even more interesting is the inclusion of State Senator Elbert Guillory (R-Opelousas). Guillory too made national news when he switched back to the Republican Party after spending several years as a Democrat. Guillory posted a Youtube video expressing his disappointment in the Democratic Party. That video has been viewed over 990,000 times.

Also announced is Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden (D).   

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