Thanh Truong / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- While many were resting and relaxing on the first day of 2014, the countdown to the Orleans Parish primary elections was underway.

In exactly one month, four candidates face off in the primary election for the mayor's seat in New Orleans.

Incumbent Mitch Landrieu enjoys solid name recognition, high polling numbers and more campaign funding than his challengers. Landrieu's first political commercial is in heavy rotation.

Meanwhile, local NAACP chapter president Danatus King and former Civil District Judge Michael Bagneris, who is considered Landrieu's main rival, have some ground to cover with roughly four weeks to do so.

'Most voters feel the city is moving in the right direction. That's not a challenge for Landrieu. That's a challenge for Bagneris,' said Eyewitness News Political Analyst Clancy DuBos.

Comedian Manny 'Chevrolet' Bruno is also in the race.

The race for Orleans Parish Sheriff also features four candidates. Incumbent Marlin Gusman has come under fire for mismanaging the Orleans Parish Prison.

Charles Foti will try to win back the seat he once held for 30 years, while Orleans Parish School Board President Ira Thomas, a former New Orleans Police Department veteran, and Quentin Brown consider themselves the 'new blood.'

DuBos said this election is not necessarily a Gusman vs. Foti race.

'The polls that I've heard about actually show there's room for a third candidate. I think Thomas' task is to get the resources so people know he's there and that he's serious, and that he's qualified,' said DuBos.

November may seem a ways away, but ads attacking incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu's support of Obamacare have been running well ahead of the November primary. Political experts predict a tight two-person race between Landrieu and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La.. Vying for control of the U.S. Senate, political action committees from both parties have launched aggressive campaigns for their respective sides.

'I think the Republicans are going to spend millions, maybe even 10's of millions of dollars to try defeat Mary Landrieu, and the democrats are going to spend whatever they can to keep her there,' said DuBos.

Republican Rob Maness is also running for Landrieu's seat.

Politically speaking, 2014 could usher in big changes or more of the same. Early voting for the Orleans Municipal Primaries begins Jan. 18th.

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