NEW ORLEANS -- Qualifying for New Orleans’ spring elections starts on Wednesday and candidates for city offices began lining up Monday.
Two current council members might try to play musical chairs with Cynthia Hedge-Morrell running for an at-large seat, and WWL-TV Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos says Jackie Clarkson will try to return to her roots in District C.
Councilwoman Kristen Gisleson-Palmer sent shock waves through the New Orleans political landscape last week when she announced she would not seek a second term.
“With Councilmember Palmer announcing she wasn't gonna run just last week, with only a week or so before qualifying opens, there's a mad scramble to find someone who can represent the district,” DuBos said.
He said Monday that the scramble will end with Clarkson announcing a run. She's coming to the end of her second term as an at-large council member. Hers is the seat Hedge-Morrell hopes to fill.
“Ms. Clarkson had announced her intention to retire and go home and take care of Buzz, her husband, and from what I hear Buzz sent word to the mayor, 'I'm sending her back to you, Mr. Mayor,'” DuBos said.
Clarkson and her staff didn't return calls for comment Monday.
Her only named opponent at the time of publication was Nadine Ramsey. She also wasn't available for comment Monday, but analysts said if Clarkson runs, any challengers have an uphill battle.
“There were a couple of other candidates who were half-heartedly looking at it, but once again, most people recognize the difficulty in unseating an incumbent, particularly in a short campaign season when money is tight,” said WWL-TV Election Analyst Greg Rigamer of GCR Inc.
DuBos described Council District C as “diverse,” with the needs and requirements of residents on the west bank vastly different from those on the east bank. It's why he says he wouldn't be surprised to see a diverse group of candidates.
“There's no neighborhood that's more demanding and more difficult to represent than the French Quarter,” he said.
Just as difficult, analysts say, as launching a successful campaign with such a tight timeline.
Qualifying for the elections begins Wednesday and closes Friday. In addition to all 7 City Council seats, candidates will qualify for the mayor's race, sheriff, assessor, and clerk of court.