Who's in and who's out as qualifying for N.O. mayor begins Wednesday

We have a better idea of who's in and who's out.

NEW ORLEANS -- Two state lawmakers have decided against a run for mayor, but one former mayoral candidate might decide to do so a day before qualifying begins.

State Rep. Walt Leger III, whose name had been tossed around as a candidate and who never said he wasn’t considering a campaign, wrote in an email a day before qualifying begins that he will not run for mayor, despite a “clear” path to victory.

“However, my public service has never been about titles or jumping to the next best thing,” he wrote. “Rather, I remain focused on working hard, studying issues, and relentlessly pursuing policy initiatives in a professional, reasonable and bipartisan manner.”

He said he will use his role in Baton Rouge to work for the city. “To everything there is a season, and at this time, my focus is on working with the governor and my colleagues in the legislature to help bring about a brighter future for everyone in New Orleans and across Louisiana.”

State Sen. JP Morrell, another lawmaker who’d flirted with the idea, also said his ongoing work in the capitol will keep him out of City Hall.

“Considering the ongoing budget crisis at the state level and my position as the chair of the Senate committee that oversees taxation and revenue, I’ve decided against running for mayor,” he told WWL-TV Tuesday in a text message.

Meanwhile, businessman Troy Henry, who finished a distant second to Landrieu in the 2010 race, said he’s contemplating a run.

In a statement he sent to The New Orleans Advocate, Henry said his consideration is spurred by a desire to solve problems such as violent crime, unequal opportunities for citizens and gentrification.

“We can't continue going from one administration to the next with the same problems that continue to plague every Mayor and Council,” Henry said in a prepared statement. “Something different has to happen to benefit the citizens not just in talk or political rhetoric, but in REALITY!”

Qualifying begins Wednesday and continues until Friday. Henry said he will make his decision after reviewing other candidates’ platforms.

He painted himself as a possible candidate who isn’t part of the city’s political establishment.

“I have been successful without the politics, despite being unfavorably treated by the current administration and the power structure of the city,” he said.

Should Henry enter the race, he would become part of a field that is vastly different than the one he entered in 2010 when nearly a dozen candidates sought to replace outgoing Mayor Ray Nagin.

So far, a small group of four have declared their candidacy for this race: former Civil District Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, former Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris, and businessman Frank Scurlock.

Election Day is Oct. 14. A runoff, if needed, would be held Nov. 18.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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