NEW ORLEANS –City Council President Jason Williams on Thursday laid to rest speculation that he would run for governor, despite requests to do so from advocates for various causes.
"Folks see me fighting for the people of New Orleans and want that same fight for the people of this state," Williams said in a prepared statement. "I am 100 percent focused on this city, and committed to addressing the host of problems plaguing New Orleans. Right now, that means being a New Orleans city councilman at-large. "
Williams said that "several people who care deeply about mental health care, education, women's rights, pay equity, and environmental protection" asked him to run for governor.
Williams, a Democrat, would have entered a race dominated by Republican candidates U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle. Jon Bell Edwards is the lone Democrat.
Williams confirmed earlier this month that he was meeting with groups interested in seeing him join the race.
Another name that has been tossed around as a potential Democratic contender is local businessman and New Orleans Advocate publisher John Georges. He has said, however, that he has no plans to run – despite polls he has commissioned that, according to him, show he would make a runoff.
The election is Oct. 24.
In his statement, Williams urged the declared candidates to "stop ignoring our most pressing issues."
"The folks that have been encouraging my candidacy are downright fearful that all of the current candidates are getting a pass on the issues which will determine the success or failure of our state," he said. "We are emerging from a troubling eight years, where our current Governor slashed everything important to our growth. We cannot afford more of the same."
Williams, an attorney who had not held elected office before winning his at-large seat, also has been rumored to be interested in running for mayor. He did not address that in his statement, saying only that "I believe that my efforts are best spent fighting for our city, in our city."