Cantrell or Charbonnet to be elected in run-off election

In Saturday’s primary for the New Orleans mayoral election, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell led the field with 39 percent of votes. Following Cantrell was Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, who won 30 percent of votes, and Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris, who won 19 percent of the vote.

Cantrell and Charbonnet will face off in the run-off election to be held on Nov. 18, guaranteeing that the next mayor of the city of New Orleans will be both female and black.

According to a report in the New Orleans Advocate, Cantrell won precincts in the Jefferson Parish line and downriver neighborhoods such as Broadmoor.

Cantrell began her career as a community activist. Though not a New Orleans native, Cantrell attended Xavier University before establishing residency in New Orleans. She has since focused her career on supporting working-class residents in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Charbonnet, a long-time judge, has worked on criminal justice issues throughout her career. Charbonnet won New Orleans East, parts of Gentilly and Algiers. 

Though Cantrell had a lead in the primary, she spoke to her supporters after the election about the continued efforts that need to take place as the campaign moves forward. 

“We know that it’s not over. We have work to do, and we are determined, we are committed and we will always be about what each and every person in our city needs to reach their full potential in the city of New Orleans,” Cantrell said to her supporters following the primary election, according to an Advocate article. “We know that we are world-class, we know that, but each and every one of our residents need to feel that they’re world-class.”

Charbonnet agreed with Cantrell that, while the primary election is a short-term victory for her campaign, there is still work to be done before the run-off.

“Tonight is a shining step toward our dream, the dream of a better New Orleans,” Charbonnet said at her election night party. “But there are miles to go and work to do before we get there. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support, your vote and most importantly, your prayers.”

Cantrell and Charbonnet both have similar priorities drawn out in their campaigns, including addressing problems associated with crime and poverty in addition to mending the sewage and drainage infrastructure in the city. A Tulane Poll found that crime was one of the top issues to voters, and Charbonnet and Cantrell both made crime a focus of their respective campaigns.

Andrew Cerise, a sophomore and New Orleans native concerned with issues like affordable issues, expressed his support for Cantrell.

“I think that the focus between the two campaigns has been one of enforcement on Charbonnet’s side and infrastructure on Cantrell’s side,” Cerise said.

Regardless of the result of the runoff, the mayor-elect will be both the first female and the first black female to hold the position of mayor in New Orleans in history.

“I am honestly surprised we haven’t had [a female mayor] sooner than this,” Cerise said. “To have our first female, African-American mayor is a very big step in the right direction for us, regardless of whether … it is Cantrell or Charbonnet.”

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