NEW ORLEANS -- Mitch Landrieu is riding high as he qualifies to run for a second term as New Orleans mayor. His positive ratings are in the 70s, his campaign war-chest is overflowing, and he's survived his first four years without any major scandals.
"We're going to stay focused on crime," Landrieu told reporters at the clerk of court's office after he put his name on the Feb. 1 ballot. "We're going to stay focused on jobs. We're going to stay focused on schools and we're going to stay focused on kids which has been our singular focus as an entire community."
Landrieu makes no apology for using his popularity to get his friends elected or re-elected to the City Council. Tuesday, he admitted to pushing term-limited Council President Jackie Clarkson into running for the District C seat.
"It stands to reason that I would want to make sure I'm working with partners that I have worked with in the past and speak to the people of New Orleans about who I think is a constructive partner and who I think isn't," said Landrieu.
Challenger Danatus King said it's inappropriate for Landrieu to try and stack the deck on the council.
"That goes hand in hand with the bullying that's going on at City Hall. The mayor has bullied, not only the City Council, he's bullied the clerk of court, he's bullied the sheriff, he's bullied the judges," King said.
King is the NAACP president in New Orleans.
WWL-TV Political Analyst Clancy DuBos expects Landrieu to have long coat tails this election cycle.
"I think what the mayor's doing is he's counting heads," said DuBos. "You've got seven votes on the council. He's needs at least four, preferably five in his corner to get his programs and policies into place."
Eyewitness Investigator Mike Perlstein reports that Civil Court Judge Michael Bagneris has tendered his resignation, effective Wednesday. That's according to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office.
Sources close to the judge tell Perlstein that Bagneris will qualify for mayor to challenge Mitch Landrieu.