The sub-story line might be a little less newsworthy nationally, but, it is just as important. It appears that the City That Care Forgot” is “The City That Forgot to Vote” Or worse, arguably, the City that simply didn’t care enough, to vote.
The 2017 New Orleans Mayor Race had three major candidates, the two women and a former Judge, Michael Bagneris, all Democrats. In total, Cantrell won with a surprisingly strong 32,025 votes or 39% of the total tally. Charbonnet followed with 25,028 (30.48%). Bagneris received 15,405 or 18.76% of the total vote. Troy Henry, a businessman, and three-time candidate for Mayor received 5,270 votes or 6.42%.
Voter apathy in New Orleans was apparent from the turnout. Roughly 85,000 people went to the polls although the population is over 390,000 inhabitants.
By comparison, in the 2006 runoff for New Orleans Mayor runoff, an election in which voters had migrated all over the country due to Hurricane Katrina, over 113,000 people went to the polls although only a fraction of the city was actually occupied and large swaths of the metropolitan area were still dark.
As New Orleans celebrates its Tricentennial next year in 2018, it faces substantial problems ranging from infrastructure deficits, high crime, racial tensions, inadequate police force, underfunding and so much more.
Assuming the same turnout on November 18 as yesterday, Cantrell has the inside track having hit close to forty percent of the vote. She is a populist candidate. Charbonnet has been hobbled with outside forces slamming her, from Sidney Torres’s VoicePAC and another Super PAC of business-people making up NotforSaleNola.com which ran TV ads, online and mailing hit pieces against Charbonnet. She is supported by many New Orleans big names and politicians.
This election will be the first competitive runoff since the Nagin-Landrieu post-Katrina contest in April 2006. Landrieu won straight up in both 2010 and 2014, therefore no runoff was necessary.
While it is doubtful that the runoff over the next ttirty-plus days will obtain the turnout numbers as achieved during the post-Katrina thriller, one thing will be very certain:
For the first time in three centuries, the New Orleans Mayor will be greeted as Ms. or Mrs. Mayor.