We’re a long way away from this fall’s elections, in which the State Treasurer, a Public Service Commission seat in south central Louisiana, the New Orleans mayor’s race and a state House of Representatives seat in Mandeville are all up for grabs. But it’s not too early for local politicians and political organizations to begin endorsing candidates, and that’s what’s happening around the state at present.
Take the mayor’s race in New Orleans, for example. So far it looks like the endorsement champion is municipal judge Desiree Charbonnet, who is the early fundraising leader as well and one of the likely runoff participants based on the polls.
Charbonnet seems to have some political strength on the West Bank of the Mississippi, as a number of political figures in Algiers have come to her side. Specifically, the Carters – State Senator Troy Carter and State Representative Gary Carter – have both endorsed Charbonnet. In addition she has Clerk of Second City Court Darren Lombard, Constable of Second City Court Edwin Shorty and former State Senator David Heitmeier backing her. But there are other endorsements Charbonnet has picked up which could hold some weight with the public. Charbonnet has Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro behind her, and two other state legislators – State Senator Wesley Bishop and State Representative Jimmy Harris – are endorsing her. Additionally, Constable of First City Court Lambert Boissiere, Jr., father of Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere, III, has publicly endorsed her. The younger Boissiere makes his office in the space where the Charbonnet family law firm sits; it’s not unreasonable to assume he’s also on board.
The New Orleans AFL-CIO and the New Orleans Fire Fighters are also backing Charbonnet.
Meanwhile, on Saturday Charbonnet’s chief opponent Latoya Cantrell picked up an endorsement from the New Orleans Independent Women’s Organization, which is a Democrat group – why they call themselves independent we don’t know. Cantrell’s endorsement list isn’t as extensive as Charbonnet’s so far; she’s picked up a few community activists and has played that as a strength by saying she’s running against the establishment.
In the District 77 House race in which the two main candidates are Rob Maness and Mark Wright, St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister made a little news by endorsing Lisa Condrey Ward, a Democrat-turned-independent who isn’t regarded as having much of a chance to win. Brister, a Republican, has made a practice of endorsements like this; her support for Mary Landrieu in 2008 was especially troubling to some in the Republican-heavy suburban parish. Now she’s backing a Democrat, who’s running as an independent, in a race with three Republicans in it, and that really isn’t going to sit well. Mark Cooper, the mayor of Covington who is expected to challenge Brister, has backed Wright.
In the State Treasurer’s race, on Monday John Schroder – who formerly held the District 77 House seat before resigning to run for the statewide post – put out an extensive list of notables endorsing him. Among the 92 public officials announced…
Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta
State Representative Chris Leopold
State Representative Frank Howard
State Representative Lance Harris
State Representative Jean Paul-Coussan
State Representative Jerome “Dee” Richard
State Representative Greg Miller
State Representative Rick Edmonds
State Representative Stephen Pugh
State Representative Polly Thomas
State Representative Clay Schexnayder
State Representative Dodie Horton
State Representative Bob Hensgens
State Representative Patrick Connick
State Representative Tony Bacala
State Representative Kirk Talbot
State Representative Joe Stagni
State Representative Kevin Pearson
State Representative Gregory Cromer
State Representative J. Rogers Pope
(Former) State Representative Henry Burns
(Former) State Representative Richard Burford
(Former) State Representative Tim Burns
(Former) State Representative Bryan Adams
(Former) State Representative John LaBruzzo
(Former) State Representative Tony Ligi
(Former) State Representative Brett Geymann
(Former) State Representative Joe Harrison
(Former) State Representative Simone Champagne
Schroder also picked up Brister’s announcement.
While Schroder has a sizable pile of House members endorsing him, his opponent Neil Riser hasn’t compiled a list. Thursday, though, Riser did get the endorsement of the The Orleans Republican Parish Executive Committee, which was a little bit of a coup seeing as though Schroder hails from the New Orleans area.