Mike Thomas has made up his mind on whether he will run to represent Metairie-based District 5 on the Jefferson Parish Council during the Oct. 24 primary.
And the former interim parish councilman will announce what his decision is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Barreca’s restaurant on Metairie Road, he said in a text message Monday.
It is expected Thomas will announce he is running for the seat — it won’t have an incumbent defending it. But Thomas declined to delve into his plans on Monday, saying he’d prefer to wait until Tuesday’s event.
The council’s District 5 seat is being vacated by Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, who can’t seek re-election to that post because of term limits. The two-term councilwoman is instead pursuing one of two at-large seats on the council, she announced in March.
Nonetheless, as of Monday, no one had officially declared themselves as a candidate to succeed Lee-Sheng.
Thomas in March told The New Orleans Advocate he was considering entering the District 5 race, but he said he needed more time before reaching a final decision.
Multiple political pundits have speculated that Thomas, a 41-year-old lawyer, is an obvious candidate for District 5. He served on the council through an interim appointment from April 2011 to January 2012.
Before that, Thomas was an aide for former at-large Councilman Tom Capella until Capella was elected to be parish assessor in April 2011. The council, with a 3-1 vote, soon thereafter appointed Thomas to finish out Capella’s term, which ended following elections that fall.
Many assumed Thomas would keep a low profile during his tenure on the council because he wasn’t elected to his seat. However, they were wrong — the former assistant district attorney and assistant parish attorney proved himself to be one of the most outspoken members on the council on a variety of issues.
Thomas has previously said he believes his professional qualifications and prior council experience would suit him well if he ran to become the next District 5 representative.
Aside from Thomas, many think Jennifer Van Vrancken Dwyer might run in District 5 in October. She is the second-in-command to Parish President John Young, who is foregoing a re-election bid to instead run for lieutenant governor.
Dwyer has been mum about whether or not she’d be interested in running in District 5.
Another potential candidate for that seat is former state Rep. John LaBruzzo, who in March told The Advocate the thought of running in the district appealed to him.
As of Monday, there were only a couple of council races with more than one contestant announced, at least tentatively.
One was in District 2, which encompasses communities on both sides of the Mississippi River, among them Harahan, River Ridge, Avondale and Marrero. Councilman Paul Johnston of Harahan will be seeking re-election, and West Bank businessman Michael O’Brien — a River Ridge resident — will be challenging him.
The other is for the at-large seat occupied by Councilman Chris Roberts. Louis Congemi, the former parish councilman and Kenner mayor, has said he intends to challenge Roberts for his seat.
Note: This post has been updated since it was first published.