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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- The political race is on for who will be elected to run the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office and Prison.

Incumbent Sheriff Marlin Gusman officially kicked off his bid for re-election Monday night.

'Tonight I stand before you to announce the official kick-off for my reelection campaign for 2014,' Gusman said, addressing a crowd of about 300 supporters inside City Park's Pavilion of Two Sisters.

'The prison system I inherited has substandard physical facilities, scattered over several blocks, and a prison population of over 6,000 inmates,' said Gusman of OPP under his predecessor.

On Monday night Gusman eluded to challenges at POP maintaining they were 'inherited' before he took over the Sheriff's Office.

Eyewitness News Political Analyst Clancy DuBos said it's a dig at his top opponent, former Sheriff Charles Foti.

'So it's true he did inherit a lot of problems, but there will also be problems that Foti can point to that clearly happened on Gunman's watch. It's going to be a kitchen sink race. They're going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at each other,' DuBos said.

Gusman's tenure as Orleans Parish sheriff has been riddled with scandal. You may remember videos surfacing of inmates smuggling contraband into the jail like drugs and booze. Then the federally mandated consent decree is still being ironed out expecting to cost New Orleans millions of dollars.

Gusman said he expects his challengers to fixate on those issues.

'I brought it up because that's what people do. They talk about the problems. They don't like to talk about the good things you do. You do 99 good things, they only want to talk about the one bad thing,' said Gusman.

'If you're going to run against an incumbent, you have to give voters a compelling reason for change. That's the reasons his opponents will give that there are kinds of problems at the jail,' said DuBos.

When Gusman was asked about Foti being called a top contender in this race, the sheriff said he was ready.

'Whoever comes at me, we're going to knock them out,' said Gusman.

Eyewitness News reached out to representatives for Foti and Orleans Parish School Board Member Ira Thomas. Both candidates were unavailable for interviews.

Sources say Foti will likely kick off his campaign next week. Thomas is scheduled to do so on Dec. 5.

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