BATISTE: Take A Closer Look At Campaign Donations

The 2017 New Orleans mayoral election campaign has carried a malaise, a lack of interest or excitement among the 18 candidates.  And while the race has produced three front runners, none have emerged as a candidate that New Orleanians are rallying behind.  And an examination into the funds of four candidates reveals a new look that may more accurately reflect what to expect on election day.

The vote on Saturday is expected to shake out a runoff between Michael Bagneris, LaToya Cantrell, and Desiree Charbonnet.  Charbonnet has the buzz being a Judge from a successful, well established New Orleans family, and a pretty black creole woman.  Cantrell, though not a native, has direct city government experience having served on the City Council.  And Bagneris has worked in the mayoral administration in the past and as a judge.

Campaign finances get reported in the local media as if the figures are actual polling data.  The numbers are shown, a few names mentioned, but no true analysis into the donations has offered more insight.  A candidate for Council District A, Drew Ward, did an analysis on campaign donations as that seems to be the biggest focus among the local media as to the likelihood of which candidate will lead on October 14.  It doesn’t need to be said, but should be mentioned, that campaign finances do not equal popular support.  The examination into the donor lists, with filters and qualifiers placed on who donated, illustrates a different picture than simply stating who brought in what amount of money.

These figures exclude family (based on name), coworkers, other politicians, PAC/Political Action Committees, Non-Human Donors (businesses, organizations, etc.), out-of-state donors, out-of-city donors, AirBnB interests / STR operators, and anyone who receives income from the City of New Orleans (contractors, suppliers, service providers, city employees, etc).  The figures represent actual voters who can vote for the candidate they contributed to.

The period analyzed is from January 2017 through September 1, 2017.

Michael Bagneris $54,990.00 57 $964.74 $394,100.00 207 $1,903.86
LaToya Cantrell $148,960.00 316 $471.39 $576,344.22 858 $671.73
Desiree Charbonnet $49,827.02 130 $383.28 $1,258,930.33 743 $1,694.39
Troy Henry $1,050.00 3 $350.00 $25,880.00 27 $958.52


The chart shows that LaToya Cantrell has received almost three times more donations from voters than each Bagneris and Charbonnet.  Cantrell has more than twice as many voter donors than Desi, and more than five times more than Bagneris.  While the ratio of election day voters to campaign contributors is very small, this information does provide a different view into election analysis.

A few takeaways from the voter analysis include that Cantrell shoots out to the front, Henry has very little support, Desi’s funds get depleted when excluding out of state donors and removing vendors working for or potentially working for the city.

Ward wrote in his email with the data provided: “This is the kind of information voters deserve to know before going to the polls.”  He’s right, it cuts the fat of purchasing influence and other interests.  If campaign finances are to be the barometer, it needs to be read properly, as New Orleans needs a true assessment of the candidates’ popularity.

The former Queen City of the South is in a state of distress.  Our lifelong career politician mayor, Mitch Landrieu, has acted as a dictator, editing New Orleans history amid harsh opposition while neglecting his basic duties.  After receiving billions of dollars following Katrina, two mayors, mostly under the watch of the Mitchtator, neglected to make the big decisions New Orleans needed.  Crime goes unabated.  The streets are terrible.  The drainage doesn’t work.  And the politicians aren’t trying to go back to the drawing board with the huge sums of money in the city’s coffers, instead they want more.

Add to this election oddities such as the sitting coroner, Jeffrey Rouse, bizarrely attempting to pull out of the coroner’s race, discouraging votes for himself and forcing one candidate on voters.  This is not a true democratic election.  Another strange one, New Orleans will choose its final slate of elected officials in November, yet they will not take office until June 1st.  This is bad government at work.  Government works for the people, the people need to wake up and speak out against this disservice to taxpayers.  Make city elected officials accountable to taxpayers.

The aura of the great city has been negatively impacted under Landrieu, and none of the candidates have demonstrated that “it factor.” They have not convinced the public that they will right the ship.  The mayoral race has been lifeless.  The New Orleans media has not pressed candidates on issues.  And predictably, voters are widely undecided.

How will the new mayor attract a new nationally-acclaimed police chief?  Why are candidates blaming the police when it’s New Orleanians committing the crimes?  How will drainage repairs be funded without additional tax burdens on residents and businesses?  The Alt-Left is tearing down monuments to historical figures around the country, New Orleans is full of statues, where do they stand on future monument removals, street name changes, renamings?  With three black candidates, the white vote of New Orleans can be the kingmaker, yet none of the candidates have appealed to the large voting block of white people.  A significant number of “single issue” voters exist on the monument issue, yet no candidate has taken a pro-monument stance.

The city’s issues are still crime, drainage, streets, monuments. New Orleans does not know who these candidates are yet, and the election is Saturday.  A malaise has encompassed this election and The City That Care Forgot is forgetting to care about its future at a pivotal time.

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