Predictions on Mayoral Race in New Orleans ...
The New Orleans Times-Picayune put it best when recently describing Mayor Ray Nagin's (D) political position in the hurricane ravaged Crescent City: he "... can no longer claim invincibility." That's become more evident since the candidate filing deadline this past Friday showed 23 Mayoral wanna-be's grabbing at Nagin's seat. This seemed to exceed the initial expectations of political observers who envisioned a crowded, yet manageable field of 12 or 13 candidates. Beyond the Mayor's race, we're witnessing a democratic growth spurt of 116 enthusiastic candidates running for 20 offices. It makes a crowded race look like a packed emcee battle at the local underground spot.
Still, Nagin shows a very slim lead in a recent CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll of N.O. voters, edging at 19% compared to 18% for Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu (brother of the Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) famously punked by CNN's Anderson Cooper during a live post-Katrina interview). Yet, CNN calls that edge "cloudy" ...
We still think Nagin will squeeze through this, despite a split-vote-tastes-White-less-Black-gentrified-faster-than-Shani-Davis Big Easy. He could end up being New Orlean's last Black mayor for a long time (much like after Dinkins in New York & Goode in Philly), but, let's not forget, Nagin is a disaster mayor: most voters might have little stomach for dramatic regime change in the midst of a recovery. Deon Roberts (who spoke to us live from downtown New Orleans on ASCENT LIVE! this past Wednesday) of the New Orleans City Business Journal reminds us:
Throughout the city’s 288-year history, most incumbents have won re-election in spite of presiding over catastrophic events.
Officials say history shows it is not the event that spoils an incumbent’s re-election; it’s public perception of how the leader prepared and responded to the event. Another factor, analysts say, can be the event’s timing in relation to the re-election race.
Then again, some in the NEW New Orleans may see this April 22nd primary as a first step towards really cleaning up the notoriously corrupt and politically sinful Crescent City, jumping at a chance to end business as usual. That can become an increasingly attractive proposition.