Less than eight weeks before the midterm elections, the political parties are giving the green light to their favorite candidates. In turn, those endorsements fuel fundraising for the biggest efforts to get the vote, which will make or break most of the races. Last night, Municipal Court Judge Mark Shea wooed donors at Junior’s in Lakeview, while his opponent Derek Russ entertained supporters at Bijou on the edge of the French Quarter.
The fiery race between Shea and Russ is a classic example of a beloved, seasoned Chosen One being challenged by a young upstart who is tired of waiting in the wings. Many experts believe that race is a factor in this campaign. Predictably, Shea garnered the lion’s share of endorsements, including from the Alliance for Good Government, the AFL-CIO and nine other organizations. U.S. Representative Troy Carter leads Shea’s long list of elected officials, which also includes Mayor LaToya Cantrell, City Council Speaker Helena Moreno and Vice City Council Speaker JP Morrell, along with 14 others.
Although Russ lacks Shea’s fundraising and endorsement prowess, he strives for the goal. Russ currently has the support of four organizations, including IDEA (Independent Democratic Voters Association) as well as three elected officials, Council Member Lesli Harris, State Rep. Marcus Bryant and State Rep. Candace Newell.
By Danae Columbus, Opinion Columnist
Outgoing Civil Service Commissioner Lambert Boissière III is leading the pack in the contest for the District 3 seat of the Louisiana Civil Service Commission. He has held the seat for almost 18 years. Although New Orleans voters rarely see or hear of Boissière, he touts his knowledge of complex public service issues, his depth of experience and his leadership on the commission, which he currently chairs. Boissière was endorsed by the Louisiana Democratic Party (like all the other candidates running). Additionally, he has the support of Orleans Parish Democrats and three other organizations. The Boissière team also announced the endorsement of Governor John Bel Edwards and Congressman Carter, with many more endorsements expected.
Other candidates in the race include Willie Jones, who enjoys a good reputation after receiving more than 30% of the vote statewide against Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser four years ago. Jones hasn’t announced any other endorsements beyond the Louisiana Democratic Party, but he has a major signing campaign underway. Reverend Gregory Manning is well known for his positions on environmental issues and has developed pockets of support throughout the district. His campaign may have gotten off to a slow start, but it is now led by highly organized Jenny Bagert, whose family has a rich political history and connections that could provide him with financial support. Candidate Jesse Thompson, an engineer, did not provide any campaign information.
The real star of the five-way contest so far is first-time contestant Devante Lewis, who is brimming with youthful enthusiasm. Few New Orleans voters know Lewis. He is from Lake Charles, was raised by a single mother, and works for the nonprofit Louisiana Budget Project. Several groups like the Alliance for Good Government, the Young Democrats of Louisiana, and the New Orleans Coalition lent their support to Lewis, which probably surprised the Boissière camp.
It is still too early to tell if Boissière’s opponents will be able to secure enough votes to force a second round. One thing is certain: the Boissière team is ready to spend all the money it deems necessary for a primary victory. This could include numerous billboards, direct mail, social media and the smart TV campaigns for which Boissière consultants Karen Carvin Shachat and Deno Seder are best known.
The Affordable Energy Alliance will be sponsoring a District 3 LPSC Candidate Forum on Wednesday, September 23 at 6 p.m. at 1879 W. Main Street in Lutcher. The forum will also be broadcast on the Alliance Facebook page.
First City Court clerk Austin Badon is in the fight of his life against former acting general counsel Donna Glapion, who most recently served as chief assistant clerk of the Second City Court. Badon is a popular politician supported by the Alliance for Good Government; BOLD, of which he is a member; and four other groups. Mayor LaToya Cantrell is Badon’s best-known ally. She is joined by 10 current elected officials, including Civil District Court Clerk Chelsey Richard Napoleon.
Glapion is the last member of his family to stand for election. His mother, Gail Glapion, served as school board president. Glapion is the official Democratic Party candidate for Orleans Parish and has been endorsed by five other organizations, including the Independent Women’s Organization (IWO). His support from elected officials is also strong and includes Congressman Carter, District Attorney Jason Williams and seven other elected leaders. On September 22, Glapion will host a fundraiser at the 30°/90° club on Frenchmen Street.
State Representatives Royce Duplessis and Mandie Landry share more than one birthday in September — his September 14 and hers on September 20. Both are seeking to fill the vacant State Senate District 5 seat. Duplessis won support from the Orleans Parish Democratic Party, the IWO and three other groups as well as former state senator Diana Bajoie, who previously held the seat. It is said that Duplessis has many supporters behind the scenes who are just waiting for the right moment to announce their support. Duplessis’ defenders have positioned him as the most pro-woman candidate in the race despite the fact that Landry has spent years representing state abortion providers and focuses much of his legislation on issues. feminine. Landry, the daughter of a plumber and a lawyer for 17 years, has been endorsed by the Alliance for Good Government, the AFL-CIO and Everytown for Gun Safety, a prestigious national organization.
Duplessis celebrates its 40th anniversarye birthday on Saturday, September 17 at a block party with a purpose, 1701 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. On September 20, Landry will celebrate morning coffee on his 44e birthday with supporters at French Truck Coffee, 2917 Magazine St., and enjoy birthday cupcakes and drinks later in the evening at Beaded Oak, 1753 St. Charles Ave.
Two up-and-coming attorneys — both with extensive City Court and Traffic Court experience — are vying for outgoing Judge Sean Early’s E Division seat. Bobbie Smith, who would have been the early front-runner in the race, racked up the most support from organizations such as the Orleans Parish Democrats and five other groups. Congressman Carter recently endorsed Smith, as did Councilman Joe Giarrusso and state Rep. Delisha Boyd. Smith will officially launch his campaign on Saturday (September 17) at the Tremé Hideaway.
Attorney Geoff Gates is competing with Smith for the E Division seat. Gates’ parents both dedicated their lives to public service. He says he is committed to bringing “professionalism, integrity and leadership” to the court. Gates has also been endorsed by IDEA. His supporters will be hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, September 24 at Second Vine Wine.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be diving deep into the other races. The key to winning – or making the runoff – on Tuesday, November 8, is to be on as many ballots as possible. Although many local candidates may run out of money, dollars from the U.S. Senate race and congressional races will help fund ballots for a number of political organizations. Look for many citizens who go to the polls on Election Day to get a sample ballot.
CANTRELL’S RECALL CAMPAIGN NOW OFFERS COURT SIGNS
Blue and white signs supporting the petition effort to recall Mayor LaToya Cantrell are now available at petition signing events. On Friday (September 16), registered voters can sign the petition at the Saint-Charles Avenue entrance to Audubon Park from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturday (September 17), the Signature Drive moves to The Fly (Riverside Drive behind Audubon Zoo) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The petition collection will also take place in Mid-City Saturday at the Bayou St. John Music Tree, at Orleans Avenue on the bayou, from noon to 3 p.m.
Campaign organizers are asking those interested in owning a sign to donate to help defray costs through the Venmo app or on the campaign website, NoLatoya.org. No cash is accepted at petition signing locations. Funds raised will be used to buy radio spots, social media and cover other campaign expenses. Volunteers are also needed to help staff sign events, including Saints games. “We have seven events scheduled for Saturday alone. We need to train people to help us ensure that all events run smoothly,” said organizer Belden Batiste.
Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursday. His career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as former District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, former Councilman Jared Brossett, General Councilwoman Helena Moreno, Foster Campbell, former Lieutenant Governor. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former city councilors Stacy Head and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. She is a member of the Democratic Parish Executive Committee. Columbus can be reached at email@example.com.