What’s on the Ballot in Today’s Municipal Elections?

Voters across Louisiana’s 64 parishes are headed to the polls today in what is predicted to be a low turnout election. While only the four constitutional amendments are on the ballot in many parishes, New Orleanians also have the opportunity to cast their vote for Mayor, Sheriff, Assessor, Clerk of Criminal District Court, City Council and for State Representative in Algiers’ District 102.

In the race for mayor, incumbent Latoya Cantrell is facing 13 challengers who have had a hard time raising money and building name recognition due to ongoing pandemic and Hurricane Ida. Nevertheless, several of them candidates – Belden Batiste, Leilani Heno, Matthew Hill and Vina Nguyen – have done the best they could with limited resources to bring new ideas to light. Despite what could be a significant protest vote, Cantrell will prevail.

In the exceedingly contentious race for City Council at Large Division 2, former state senator J.P. Morrell and City Councilmember Kristin Palmer are battling to the end. Palmer recently released an ad exploiting the tragic deaths of the Hard Rock Hotel construction workers. Members of the faith-based community including Bishop Darryl Brister of Beacon Light International Cathedral issued a scathing rebuke and called Palmer’s action “unconscionable.” It was Palmer who pushed through the height variance that many believe precipitated the unfortunate accident.

Environmentalist Bart Everson is also on the ballot along with Councilmember Jared Brossett who suspended his campaign after his second DUI arrest in two years. Though thought to be in treatment for substance abuse, Brossett was seen in a suite at last Sunday’s Saints game.

Council President Helena Moreno, one of the city’s most hard-working elected officials, has had an easy race against activist Kenneth Cutno who continues to fight for what he believes in.

In the race for Sheriff, former Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson Susan Hutson has built a vocal, progressive constituency which has been sending home the message that a smaller jail and other criminal justice reforms are still needed.  Sheriff Marlin Gusman, popular among Black and older voters, has been touting what he calls his successes. Other candidates in the race include Janet Hayes, Quentin Brown Jr. and Dr. Christopher Williams.

Assessor Erroll Williams, who is often criticized for high assessment rates, had to work harder in the re-election campaign. Challenger Carlos Hornbrook took to the airwaves to tell citizens that he would lower property taxes. Other candidates include Anthony Brown and Andrew (Low Tax) Gressett.

First City Court Clerk Austin Badon, Second City Court Clerk Darren Lombard and Dr. Patricia Boyd- Robertson have been fighting to replace retiring Clerk of Criminal Court Arthur Morrell. Boyd-Robertson has been running a hands-on campaign with personal phone banking and follow-up letters to undecided voters. Negative television commercials tying Badon to former republican governor Bobby Jindal as well as Badon’s actions during his years of service as a legislator have drawn a strong response from Badon. Both Lombard and Boyd- Robertson have worked at the clerk’s office.

In Algiers, voters will elect a new Black state representative. Realtor Delisha Boyd has enjoyed wide support from elected officials and business leaders. Activist Jordan Bridges, a new young voice, has been generating enthusiasm and voter support.

In other Council races, District A Councilmember Joe Giarrusso, Amy Misko and Bob Murrell are offering their ideas on how to better provide services for citizens. District B Councilman Jay Banks loaned his campaign $50,000 to help educate voters about his accomplishments. Facing three women opponents – Leslie Harris, Rella Zapletal and Roz Thibodeaux – Banks understands the importance of getting his voters to the polls.

Seven candidates are vying for the open Council District C seat in which the majority of voters reside on the West Bank. Look for two of the four Algiers candidates – Freddy King, Stephen Mosgrove, Stephanie Bridges and Barbara Waiters – to make the runoff. Alonzo Knox, Frank Perez and Vincent Milligan are also contenders. Knox should be the biggest vote-getter on the East Bank side of the district.

With 14 candidates, the Council District D race is all about voter turnout. Most observers believe that Eugene Green is destined for the runoff because he had the name recognition and financial resources to run a full throttle campaign.  That hasn’t stopped candidates like Mariah Moore, Troy Glover, Morgan Clevenger, Mark Lawes and Timolynn Sams from pushing hard to reach the runoff.  Mayor Cantrell is thought to be supporting – and raising money – for Sams.

Former Council President Oliver Thomas has been picking up support throughout Council District E but is expected to be in a runoff with incumbent councilmember Cyndi Nguyen. Candidates Michon Copelin, Aaron Miller, Vanessa GueringerJohnson and former state representative John Bagneris have been speaking to voters throughout the race.

Four constitutional amendments are also on the ballot. Amendment 1 attempts to change how state and local taxes are collected. Amendment 2 advocates for income and franchise tax reform. Amendment 3 provides a new mechanism for levee district tax increases. Amendment 4 addresses changes to the state’s current budget deficit process.

The polls are open until 8 p.m. Citizens unable of their voter registration status, can log onto Geaux Vote, a clearinghouse operated by the Louisiana Secretary of State.

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