With about 83 percent of precincts in, embattled Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman appeared to have squeaked out a victory over former longtime Sheriff Charles Foti.
With 307 of 366 precincts reporting, Gusman had 48 percent of the vote, compared to 31 percent for Foti.
But most of the uncounted votes were in New Orleans East and the 9th Ward, areas where Gusman was polling well, and WWL-TV analyst Greg Rigamer projected Gusman would win when all the votes were counted.
Ira Thomas, a member of the Orleans Parish School Board, took 19 percent of the votes counted so far. Thomas and Foti spent much of the campaign taking turns attacking Gusman’s stewardship of the city’s jail, where conditions were declared unconstitutional by a federal judge last year.
Gusman has countered by saying many of the jail’s well-documented problems have their roots in Foti’s three-decade reign as the city’s jailer.
Voter disenchantment in the race was high, a fact best illustrated by gardener and perennial candidate Quentin Brown’s relatively strong showing. With about two-thirds of precincts counted, Brown had already snared nearly 2,000 votes, more than three times the number of votes he had gotten in New Orleans in his four previous political campaigns. That gave him 3 percent of the vote.