Cantrell Campaign Office Attempts to Spin Recall as Racist, Sexist, “Republican-backed maneuver”

Photo courtesy of Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s Facebook page

In a statement originally sent out anonymously by Team LaToya Cantrell, campaign staffer Maggie Caroll called recall efforts against the mayor “a Republican-backed maneuver by people with an agenda.” The statement also alleged that a conservative DC firm has signed on to lead the effort, though no evidence was given to support the claim.

“The recall effort to undermine and discredit the first Black woman Mayor of New Orleans is quickly being exposed as a Republican-backed maneuver by people with an agenda,” Caroll said. “It fits into a long history of taking away our vote and our voice. That’s why we have reason to believe a conservative DC firm has signed on to lead the effort.”

Eileen Carter, co-leader of the recall effort alongside Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste, was quick to deny the statement’s claim. “Why lie on your residents and to your residents? Sad,” Carter said in response to the statement’s claim. “Beldon & I are both black. This is not a race issue. It’s a job performance issue. We are grassroots (no money to date)…The divisiveness is one reason we filed the recall…”

One detail that some opponents of the recall have latched on to is an interview by New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO with Erick Sanchez, whom they referred to as a crime victim supporting the recall efforts. However, Sanchez isn’t just an average New Orleanian – he’s a publicist and well-known political consultant – though he’s far from a Republican. Currently, Sanchez is working on Gary Chamber’s campaign for Senate, after having worked on Andrew Yang’s campaign for President. In fact, Sanchez began his career in politics by helping to organize a rally in 2006 – for then-Senator Barack Obama.

“It wasn’t too long ago that Latoya Cantrell told us all to take out our own trash,” Sanchez told WGNO during his interview. “If this recall effort is successful, we might have a chance to do that.”

Organizers say they’ve secured more than 3,000 signatures toward the recall in less than a week – though they’re still a long way from the 56,000 they need. There are several events planned in the coming days, including one on Friday, Sept. 2 from 8 am-3 pm at 1733 N. Dorgenois St. in the 7th ward, and on Saturday, Sept 3, from 11 am-2 pm at the Save A Lot on Read Blvd in New Orleans East.

Satisfaction with the Mayor’s performance has declined sharply over the past several months. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cantrell had a 70% satisfaction rate, but recent news of her outlandish travel expenses – including a $40,000 trip to France – and her court appearance in support of a juvenile carjacker during his sentencing hearing has led to increasing dissatisfaction from her constituents.

Tuesday’s statement attempted to remind residents of their previous support of Cantrell throughout the pandemic and to spin her travel as work to renew interest in New Orleans tourism.

“Mayor Cantrell makes mistakes like every God-fearing person. But we can’t forget that she led us courageously through the pandemic and Hurricane Ida. We can’t forget her historic investments in streets, drainage, parks, and early childhood education. She also raised our city’s bond rating, making it easier to fund vital services, including public safety. When it comes to travel, she has been on the road to recover lost revenue by marketing New Orleans to the world. That’s fundamental to the work of any big city mayor.”

The statement also noted that it’s not solely the mayor’s job to fight crime across the city, saying that local business owners and residents also have a roll to play.

“Ultimately it will take all of us – the entire New Orleans criminal justice system, state and federal officials, local business owners, everyday residents, all working together – to end the epidemic of crime we are facing,” the statement reads. “Every major U.S. city is struggling with this issue following the pandemic. Courts were closed, social services ended, and people were financially stressed.”

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