New Orleans Elections Livebloggingby Kevin
Welcome to the New Orleans municipal elections liveblogging. Normally, most people wouldn’t care about the elections in the city of New Orleans. However, that changed on August 29, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. That, combined with the incompetance of the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Orleans Parish Leeve Board, led to the destruction of nearly 80% of the city by flooding. Ever since then, the city has been in the national spotlight, this election is no different.
First of all, the turnout has been described as steady all day in most precincts. The absentee vote, while much higher than the last election in 2002, has been described as lower than expected. In addition, by all accounts, most attempts to bus evacuees back home were not successful.
The most watched race is the obviously the mayor’s race. The four major contenders are Mayor Ray Nagin, Lieutenant GovernorMitch Landrieu, businessman Ron Forman, and lawyer Rob Couhig (whom I’m supporting, although I do not live in New Orleans). I cannot even begin to guess who will be in the runoff because there are no reliable polls and no reliable estimates of how many people live in New Orleans.
The other races I’m watching are the City Council races. There are many corrupt and incompetant incumbants who need to be replaced if New Orleans will ever recover from Katrina. In addition, I will be watching the seven (that’s not a typo) assessor races to determine if there is any support for reforming the corrupt system of assessing property taxes in New Orleans. In the assessor races, there is a group of candidates running under something called the IQ Ticket (which stands for “I Quit”) whose platform is calling for all assessors to quit and give their salaries to hiring a professional assessment firm to do assessments and to support consolidating the seven assessor positions into one. These races are just as important as the mayor’s race.
So sit back and relax because the show really begins at 8PM Central when the polls close. I will be flipping back and forth between New Orleans’s four broadcast networks to give you the best election news I can.
8PM: Polls closed in New Orleans. WWL-TV is reporting about 50% turnout citywide.
8:05 PM: No results yet.
8:15 PM: Still no results. Normally in a Louisiana election, results start coming immediately.
8:21 PM: First results from two precincts being reported by WVUE-TV: Ron Forman in the lead with Mitch Landrieu in second. The precincts are in Lakeview, a white Republican conservative middle class stronghold.
8:26 PM: With three precincts in, Ray Nagin is now in the lead with Ron Forman in second.
8:33 PM: The precincts reporting in now are mostly black and went against Nagin in 2002. This time around, Nagin is doing much better in those precincts and the threat of Tom Watson and Mitch Landrieu to siphon off black votes is apparently not materializing right now. Nagin is back in the lead with Landrieu coming in second with eight precincts reporting.
8:39 PM: Secretary of State Al Ater is holding a press conference. I’m going to hold off on posting more results until many more precincts come in. Ater is calling the election a success with only one technical problem, a polling station that lost power for 30 minutes.
8:45 PM: In the Council at Large race, a pattern is developing where the only major contenders are incumbant Oliver Thomas, Councilwoman for District C Jacquelyn Clarkson, and former New Orleans Saints executive Arnie Fielkow.
8:52 PM: First mega-precinct expected shortly, from New Orleans East.
8:55 PM: Rob Couhig is only at 14% with 8% precincts in. However, Landrieu, Nagin, and Forman are polling around at 27-26%. Couhig must make up this deficit in Algiers and Lakeview or he’s finished.
9:01 PM: I’m noticing another disturbing trend in the City Council and Assessor races, the incumbants are either winning or in position to go into the runoff.
9:11 PM: With 78% of the precincts in at City Council District E (New Orleans East), incumbant Cynthia Willard-Lewis is leading with over 60% of the vote. I think we can safely call this one for the incumbant with no runoff.
9:20 PM: WWL-TV is doing a report on the demographic breakdown of the precincts. Basically, Ron Forman is not doing well in his base in Uptown (which is being won by Mitch Landrieu). Ray Nagin is winning in the flooded areas and 66% of the black vote. However, Rob Couhig’s base in Algiers and Lakeview is not reporting in yet. Forman and Landrieu are battling for the white vote in Uptown and the one precinct in Lakeview that has reported in.
9:30 PM: With one-third of the precincts in, it’s looking like that Ray Nagin and Mitch Landrieu are beginning to pull away from Ron Forman and Rob Couhig. Couhig is hurting Forman among whites, but it’s not Couhig’s fault that Forman was such a horrible candidate.
9:32 PM: Correction about the District E race, only 16% of precincts are in.
9:38 PM: It’s looking that an IQ candidate is going to be victorious tonight, in Assessor District 6, IQ candidate Nancy Marshall is leading the race with 55% with 84% of precincts in.
9:44 PM: First race officially called. Civil District Clerk of Court Dale Atkins has been reelected with 82%.
9:51 PM: Nagin and Landrieu continue to pull away with 59% of the precincts.
9:52 PM: WWL-TV is calling the mayor’s race. Mayor Ray Nagin and Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu are going to be in the runoff. It’s an open question whether or not Couhig’s and Forman’s numbers combined would have made a difference.
9:58 PM: Both Criminal and Civil Sherrif races have been called with the incumbants winning overwhelming victories in both cases.
10:01 PM: Council District A race has been called with Councilman Jay Batt and challenger Shelley Medura going into a runoff.
10:06 PM: Claude Mauberret, who’s family has held the 2nd District Assessorship for over 100 years has won election.
10:10 PM: Oliver Thomas has won his Council at Large seat outright. Arnie Fielkow and Jacquelyn Clarkson will be going into runoff for the second at large seat.
10:12 PM: Incumbant District 3 Assessor Erroll Williams has won reelection. As has District 7 Assessor Henry Heaton.
10:14 PM: Ron Forman has conceded defeat.
10:15 PM: City Council District B race is going into a runoff. Incumbant Reene Gill Pratt and challenger Stacy Head are going to faceoff in the runoff.
10:21 PM: City Councilwomen Cynthia Hedge-Morrell (District D) and Cynthia Willard-Lewis (District E) have won reelection. At this point, Rob Couhig’s and Ron Forman’s combined vote of 27% would not have been enough to get in to the runoff. Mitch Landrieu has 29% and Ray Nagin has 38%.
10:34 PM: Nagin is speaking…and gloating.
10:39 PM: I’ll go ahead and call the District 5 Assessor’s race for the incumbant in that race, Tom Arnold.
10:47 PM: I’m not even going to even bother finishing liveblogging. The corrupt and incompetant New Orleans status quo has won and won big tonight. Most incumbants have been reelected or are going into the runoff. Mitch Landrieu is no real alternative to Ray Nagin. New Orleans has sealed its own fate tonight, which is going to go down as the worst night since August 29, 2005. May God help us all.