Just a few prognostications...don't hold me to any of them. I have a sizable bet riding in only one race.
New Moon Over New Orleans
Powered by a strong absentee vote and a backlash against the Nagin Administration that transcends race, Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu will win the office that unsuccessfully pursued in 1994 and 2006.
Business consultant Troy Henry, as the consensus black candidate, will run second followed by John Georges, whose inroads with the black community could not compensate the loss of white support stemming from his harsh comments about popular US Attorney Jim Letten. Rob Couhig, the lone Republican in the race, will finish fourth, fair housing activist James Perry fifth and former judge Nadine Ramsey placing sixth.
Mitch Landrieu 50%
Troy Henry 24%
John Georges 13%
Rob Couhig 7%
James Perry 3%
Nadine Ramsey 2%
Fielkow, Clarkson Re-elected
At-Large Council members Arnie Fielkow and Jacquelyn Clarkson will be returned to office in the primary due to the election only featuring three major candidates. Because all the candidates run on one ballot and the electorate can cast two votes, Fielkow and Clarkson will benefit from the second vote distributed by black voters to the two incumbents whose first choice was Cynthia Willard-Lewis, while Willard-Lewis is expected to receive little crossover support from white voters. Lewis would have benefited from a second black candidate of stature on the ballot and stronger Republican candidates splitting the white vote. Four years ago, Clarkson failed to lock up her initial bid for councilman-at-large in the primary because of a split white vote involving two Republican candidates and a two other significant white Democrats.
Batt, Guidry Go to the Second Round
Former Republican Councilmember Jay Batt will face Democrat Susan Guidry in a runoff. Batt has had to contend with opposition from not just the other candidates in the race but also the Anybody But Batt group that spoiled his bid for re-election in 2006 and the Democratic incumbent council member who beat him last time, Shelley Midura. Helping Batt this time around is a repopulated Lakeview area.
Other Council Races
Council member Stacy Head, who in my not so humble opinion OUGHT to be mayor, will be re-elected in District B.
Kristin Palmer, after narrowly losing a bid for District C four years before, will be elected the council over Republican assessor Tom Arnold. Though Arnold has been a long enduring figure in Algiers, he has sustained too much bad publicity from articles in the Times Picayune and his campaign has struggled to gain momentum.
District D voters will return Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. This will be a third term for Morrell, who was elected to post pre-Hurricane Katrina after then-incumbent council member Marlin Gusman was elected criminal sheriff.
District E voters have six candidates to choose from. The district, hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina, includes New Orleans East and the lower Nine. Conventional wisdom says that state representative Austin Badon and former Senator Jon Johnson will be in a runoff, assuming one of the two doesn’t win the spot outright despite the crowded field.
Upset Special: Mauberret to Be Shut Out Runoff
The Times Picayune, who has made punishing assessors that opposed the office’s consolidation newspaper editorial and beat writing policy, will claim another skin on Saturday assessor Claude Mauberret finishes in third place behind Erroll Williams and Janis Lemle.
It should be noted that Williams was recently endorsed by US Senator Mary Landrieu, a peculiar move considering the obscurity of the office Williams is seeking, Landrieu’s own high office and of course the fact that her brother is on the same ballot for mayor. The Times Picayune article that heralded the endorsement made reference to the possibility that Louisiana’s senior senator might have been fulfilling a political deal, as her brother is on the LIFE ticket, which is closely affiliated with Williams and former mayor Marc Morial.
Lemle has the backing of the Times Picayune and the “I Quit” political group that targeted assessors for defeat in the previous election in a bid to jump-start consolidation of the offices.
You Best Your ASSessor There’s Media Bias
While the “high-and-mightys” at Howard Avenue have endorsed many candidates in the city elections, the trifecta the Times Picayune is pushing the hardest are Landrieu, Lemle and Palmer.