The primary race for State Representative District 93, a district in the middle of New Orleans, has been making headlines lately for its measly 6.1 percent voter turnout for the special election Saturday. Almost nobody voted.
The special election was held to replace the seat made vacant by now-state senator Royce Duplessis, who defeated fellow Democrat (now an independent) Mandie Landry in a special election in November to replace the disgraced and resigned Karen Carter Peterson. The two leading candidates, Sibil “Fox” Richardson and Alonzo Knox, will be heading to a runoff after mustering up only 1,385 votes combined.
House District 93 contains pivotal areas of New Orleans such as downtown. While Louisiana’s major news publications have blamed the low voter turnout on the many parades which have run through the area in the middle of carnival season, an examination of candidate quality yields serious questioning.
Duplessis, who pulled the race card against Landry in a campaign ad he used to help win his state senate race in 2022, isn’t exactly irreplaceable – though from what we’ve seen so far, he might be remembered quite fondly in comparison to what’s coming.
The candidate to receive the most votes is Fox Richardson, who is one half of the couple known as “the black Bonnie and Clyde.” Richardson and her husband rose to fame in the late 90s for their failed bank robbery in North Louisiana that landed them in prison, hence the nickname.
Richardson has spent her time after prison comparing the imprisonment of black people to slavery.
In a speech Fox delivered in mid-2022, she stated that she did not know what it meant to be free until she did time in prison; or as Fox put it, “It wasn’t until I became a slave again that I understood.”
Sadly, the leading option for the state representative seat in an already crime-ridden New Orleans is a former bank robber who looks to ease up on criminals in Louisiana in the name of fighting racism.
Her opponent in the run-off, fellow Democrat Alonzo Knox, has not had the same polarizing career that his opponent has. While seemingly not as bad a choice as Fox is, his resume also has some questionable spots.
A voter education guide written in 2021 mentioned Knox’s position on the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission, which he had held for six years at the time. This time frame may indicate that Knox was a part of the HDLC in 2015 that infamously voted 11-1 to recommend removing four Confederate monuments from New Orleans.
To add on to his questionable involvements, Knox was also a staffer of current Baton Rouge mayor Sharon Weston Broome during her time on the state senate. Weston Broome’s leadership has lead to Baton Rouge being named one of the top 10 most unsafe cities in America in 2020, and it has not gotten much better since.
The cherry on top is the candidate with the third-most votes, Steven Kennedy, who admitted to having a history of domestic violence during the election cycle.
Saturday’s election may have slipped past residents who have been enjoying the sights of the krewes of Iris or Endymion; but for the ones who showed up, they were certainly not met with the best options to represent them.