Friday, January 16, 2009

Race to the Punchline 2010

Update: Vincent Sylvain's newsletter says Cynthia Willard-Lewis is going for one of the at-large seats on City Council. She has a good shot to win one of them, at least right now.

It's been almost a month since the last time we broke bread over the Mayoral race. You can check out the last line here.

Though the election is over a year from now, the campaigning has already begun.

My list of contenders should not be considered completely exhaustive. If you or someone you know is a candidate for Mayor, feel free to say so in the comments below.

First, the ground rules:

- Contenders are ranked from least likely to win to most likely to win.
- Individuals that have confirmed their candidacy or are known to be running will earn a better ranking than they otherwise might.

Now, enjoy:

Tier IV - Almost irrelevant

25. Eli Ackerman - Botox will be well worth it, people. Send in those checks.

24. John Georges - I hear he's not interested anymore. He can self-finance his own campaign so he'll move up if he changes his mind.

23. Emile Labat - Sylvain says this funeral director is definitely running. Nobody else has ever heard of him.

22. Rob Couhig - Talk show host has limited fan base and a host of divisive political positions. Does he run again?

21. Michael Cowen - Loyola administrator is apparently interested, but I don't see any compelling evidence that he's serious about winning. He's done some good work on racial dialogue but I haven't seen where he's been vocal about municipal policy. Have I just not been paying attention? I don't get it.

20. Virginia Boulet - Not sure if there's a compelling political rationale for her to run, she should probably be thinking about Council if she's still interested in elected office. It's hard to tell. Anyone heard from her lately? Maybe I've dropped her too far.

19. Ron Forman - I'm not sure the business crowd wants him to run.

Tier III
- Window shopping

18. Troy C. Carter - Still dangerous because he somehow earns a few thousand votes every time he runs for office. I don't see how he raises the money it would take to really make a play. He should set his sights lower.

17. James Carter - Probably not going to run for Mayor, if he even decides to continue working in politics. I hear he's pretty fed-up. I've been frustrated with him at times but I don't want to see him quit. What about City Council at-large?

16. Austin Badon - The papers say he's interested but I don't see how anyone from the East mobilizes enough voters to make a go of it. If he's interested in municipal level politics, he should look at running for Willard-Lewis' seat. He's sold out on progressive issues like vouchers, so maybe he's looking to couch himself as some sort of independent centrist. He has precarious connections to the city's sanitation contractor elite. I don't trust this dude.

15. Eddie Sapir - Former Councilman wants back in for some reason. I don't really know where to put him. Hard to picture him running a citywide race, the rumor stoking seems like an ego exercise to me. Thoughts?

14. Cheryl Gray - I hear her name in connection with the Congressional seat often enough that it would lead me to believe she's more interested in that seat if she's at all curious about higher office. She did recently get engaged (congratulations), so she may be in the process of reevaluating her career goals.

13. Cedric Richmond - Probably more interested in Congress than in running for Mayor but it's hard to speculate as to what his next move should be. Curious for comment.

12. Cynthia Willard-Lewis - Unpopular Councilwoman has absolutely no chance but has been politically hemmed and needs to find a new job eventually. [Update: Running for Council at-large. She has a good chance to win one of the two seats available.]

11. Helena Moreno - She's a wild card. She needs a job right now, we're in a recession people.

10. Cynthia Hedge-Morrell - Unconfirmed interest. She might fair surprisingly well in a citywide race. Could she be mulling an at-large bid?

Tier II - Legitimate contenders

9. Roy Glapion Jr. - He's apparently curious and has a famous name. Could be dangerous later on if he raises money. Tough to handicap.

8. Ed Murray - He's really running but I don't see how he sneaks into the runoff given the rest of the field. Putting together a winning coalition is another thing entirely. I don't think he has much of a shot.

7. James Perry - Believe it. He's the only person running that has already built a campaign blueprint. He is surrounding himself with smart and motivated young people and has a rare command of the actual issues faced by the city. He's taking this very seriously and soon people will notice. Princeton professor and political pundit Melissa Harris-Lacewell already has, comparing Perry to her friend Barack Obama. So much for the advantage of stealth. Fundraising will be key early on, so will ensuring that other potential candidates who fit the 'progressive outsider' label decide to take a pass.

6. Jackie Clarkson - I know some people can't believe it but I keep on hearing that she's interested in running for Mayor. She has a strong geographic base and this fact scares me to death. The West Bank is going to have a lot of stroke in this election and I'm not sure there are many East Bank candidates that know how to campaign effectively on the other side of the river.

5. Irvin Mayfield - He's juggling an increasing number of political roles and seems very interested. He's been quietly cultivating political relationships but will still be able to run as an outsider. He has big name recognition and should be considered a threat in the fundraising department because of his national reputation.

4. Marlin Gusman - The more I think about it, the more viable his candidacy seems. His background "fighting crime" is going to be a big advantage that not many other people are going to be able to match. Plus, I've heard that the Nagin administration isn't particularly fond of Gusman, which could turn out to be an advantage, depending on how he structures his campaign.

Tier I - Early front runners

3. Mitch Landrieu - I get mixed signals about the potential for his candidacy. On one hand, the last race was brutal and if he loses again he's pretty much toast as a big time Louisiana politician. He could lose to Jindal in 2011 for Governor while still maintaining political respect, but another municipal loss and he'd be SOL. On the other hand, there are a lot of people in New Orleans that wish they could have a mulligan. Plus if he decides to run, he'd become the odds-on favorite, no? He'd certainly make the runoff. He's staying right where he is on the line for now.

1b. Arnie Fielkow - He's almost definitely going to run. He has had a knack for generating positive press for himself and he's going to be able to raise a ton of money. I wonder whether he can generate widespread appeal in the African American community if he's put under attack for being too close to the business community.

1a. Karen Carter-Peterson - She has maintained solid relationships with national Democrats who remember her fondly from her 2006 loss to Bill Jefferson. She also has good ties to the Obama team. It is improbable that she would take a pass on this and run for Congress again, because I think that would tick off some of her deferential allies. She's a formidable candidate for any office and I think it's safe to consider her an early top contender.


What does everyone think?

Certainly there are some other names being whispered around town that are not listed. I've also purposefully left off many of the perpetual 1%ers like Quentin Brown and some more "serious" long-shots like Jimmy Fahrenholtz in order to keep this post at a reasonable length. However, it's important to continue to keep an eye on the peripheries. Any candidate capable of earning votes can swing this election. Feel free to submit some of those names in the comments section for future consideration.

Ranking the top ten or so this time around felt a lot less arbitrary than it did a month ago, I'm curious as to how other people might pick their top 10 and why.


G Bitch said...

My vote, pennies and minimal free time will go to James Perry.

dsb said...

I second G. Perry is a brilliant guy--easily the best of the lot. It's great to hear he's been laying the groundwork, a very good sign. I'd work to get him elected.

Red said...

Run James! Run!!!

Anonymous said...

irvin mayfield, probably lots of scandalous & sordid tales of drugs and pussy out there. just sayin'.

arnie, a good guy, but not from here. would we ever elect someone not from here?

karen c-p is a vicious bitch who has made serious enemiez. she lost to jefferson for a reason (or many).

e murray is a serious contender because he's a skilled campaigner and has a machine. also he's politically connected to republicans so they'll back him. i'm very disappointed in him, i don't think he represents us very well. i mean, look around. what has he done for new orleans? damned if i know.

o, jackie. o... jackie. bitch lost post-K at-large round 1 to O.T. and then came back to become council president. she's a grand matron of the red jacket ladies and don't underestimate their deadly intent to reinstitute and firmly cement white rule at the mouth of the mississippi. it almost doesn't get more their crowd, except-

rob c. - but i think he's really blown his credibility by talking shit all the time.

a fun list. i'm with perry too.

you should definitely keep your hat in the ring after all any of the contenders could come down with indictment any time (for example v. boulet for the (paid?) 'consulting activites' she provided c. ray after the election)and you could move up. otherwise it's just smart to keep your brand out there.

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E said...

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Civitch said...

Glad to see that you've moved James Perry into Tier II. Just a matter of time till he's in Tier I. My money is on Mitch *not* running, purely because the risk of being a three-time loser would be political poison, not to mention a huge ego blow to a known egomaniac.

I couldn't help but notice this line in your comments on Cheryl Gray:

"She did recently get engaged (congratulations), so she may be in the process of reevaluating her career goals."

and wonder if you'd have made the same comment if a male candidate were getting hitched.

mominem said...

I don't know if CWL carrying Nagin's water on the council is a good move.

Although putting some distance between herself and the rest of the council is probably a good idea, even if sh'e wrong.

E said...

Civitch asks a fair question. I know that Sen. Gray's fiancee has also been politically active and is in the military. Seems like that could make decision-making more nuanced, particularly if one of the options is to try to get to Washington. But there's no doubt that people tend to gloss over the question in situations when the gender roles are reversed.

spoke the cat said...

hey, the cat wants on your blog roll.

Clifton said...

We have to get Irvin Mayfield off of this list. I also would like to see Mitch Landrieu focus on the Lieutenant Governor position because he does a great job at it and he keeps losing mayor races. The last time you did this list I said Gusman was the wildcard and I still feel that way.
On personal note there are a lot of things about James Perry I like. He's the first mayoral candidate that has experienced the city from the vantage point of my generation and I like that a lot.

Leigh C. said...

Botox for you? Now? Gravity hasn't even begun on you yet, you li'l whippersnapper!

Sounds like a serious racket, 'less, of course, you plan to inject that stuff into our newspaper-bolstered levees.

adrastos said...

I'd like to see Gray run for Congress. And once again I think Mitch won't run and chance a third mayoral loss. I assume he and Arnie would not be in the field together.

I doubt if Sapir would run for Mayor but he did serve four (widely divided) terms as an At-large councilman so he's run citywide.

Francine Stock said...

I hesitate to unleash this dragon, but .... Stacy Head is our seated politician most publicly critical of Nagin. While she has certainly made some enemies, she should not be counted out.

E said...

I have heard nothing indicating Stacy Head has ANY interest whatsoever running for Mayor. In fact, I have heard that she may not even run for reelection as the Councilwoman from District B.

Hers would be a very divisive candidacy, regardless of whether or not you believe the criticism against her is deserved.

Anonymous said...

Irvin Mayfield? Gimme a break! He's a political creation of Nagin and got a big head since Bush invited him to play minstrel at the White House once.

What background, training or education does this joker have that might prepare him for being Mayor? Did he complete a semester of college?

Also, might be a little embarassing how his Jazz Orchestra got a city grant for $400 K when a member of his board served on the city committee that made the recommendation. . . then the money went to build Mayfields ego, paying for bodyguards, massages and other personal perks. All taxpayer money. If you think Nagin is an out of control incompetent, imagine this guy as your mayor.