Ministers alliance endorses Charbonnet

At least one group that placed its bet on Michael Bagneris in the New Orleans mayoral primary is now pulling for Desiree Charbonnet in the runoff.

The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a group of more than 100 mainly black New Orleans ministers that endorsed Bagneris before Saturday's primary, has swung its weight behind Charbonnet, her campaign announced Thursday.

Although the ministers' recommendation apparently carried little weight in the primary, such endorsements may prove important in the Nov. 18 runoff.

Both Charbonnet and City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who took 39 percent of the vote to Charbonnet’s 30 percent, will be angling for the votes that went to Bagneris and other sidelined candidates. 

“Desiree Charbonnet was the clear choice to endorse for mayor,” said the Rev. Willie Gable Jr., pastor of Progressive Baptist Church and the alliance's president. “Her past work caring for the well-being of all communities in New Orleans speaks for itself. This community unifying work will surely continue when she is mayor.”

This week, Charbonnet has been emphasizing her crime-fighting platform, a strategy political handicappers say is aimed at winning the support Bagneris grabbed in Lakeview, the Garden District and other mostly white areas.

Bagneris also landed the Police Association of New Orleans’ endorsement before the primary, along with those of the Alliance for Good Government, the Baptist Pastors Conference and the New Orleans Coalition, the latter of which he shared with Cantrell. Those organizations have not yet announced whom they will support in the runoff. 

As third-place finisher, Bagneris grabbed 19 percent of the vote, which means the candidate who can win over most of his supporters will likely be in a position to win the runoff. 

“My faith and community have always been the bedrocks of my life,” Charbonnet said. “Having an organization that works across denominations to achieve mutual understanding and community uplift is a great honor. I am proud to carry their endorsement in this election.”

Poll: Yenni's ratings remain abysmal 

Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni weathered a recall effort earlier this year following an explosive "sexting" scandal. But his support among his constituents remains abysmally low, according to a new poll.

Just 29 percent of Jefferson voters approve of Yenni’s job performance, while 46 percent said they disapprove, according to a University of New Orleans survey published this week.

Yenni received poor marks among all demographics, the survey found, but his disapproval rating was higher on the East Bank and among black voters.

The findings underscore Yenni’s vulnerability should he choose to run for re-election in 2019.

Yenni, a Republican, has been accused of misrepresenting his personal life to voters in his successful bids for mayor of Kenner and parish president. But he refused to step down even after he acknowledged sending sexually explicit text messages to a teenage boy. The youth accused Yenni of giving him gifts and kissing him briefly, among other claims.

An effort to recall Yenni from office failed earlier this year after the organizers acknowledged they had not collected the 90,000 signatures needed to trigger an election.

Compiled by Jessica Williams and Jim Mustian

Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA​.