With six months to go before New Orleans voters cast ballots for their next mayor, the race so far has been a slow one, with only two formally declared candidates, City Council member LaToya Cantrell and Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris. State Rep. Walt Leger might be a candidate, too, although he hasn’t formally announced a bid for the city’s top office. Other candidates could emerge as well.
Late starts for the mayor’s race in New Orleans aren’t new. The incumbent, Mitch Landrieu, didn’t announce his candidacy until days before qualifying in 2010, and his relative tardiness didn’t seem to hurt him. Hailing from a prominent New Orleans political family and having a high profile as the state’s lieutenant governor probably helped, too.
There’s a lot to be said for short political campaigns. After the seemingly interminable length of last year’s presidential race, voters need a break. A community — and a nation — in constant campaign mode isn’t good for democracy.
But now, before the mayoral race gets into high gear, is a good time for New Orleans to think about what they want for their city, and what kind of leader they believe is best equipped to advance the city’s promise.
Like it or not, the October primary will be here before we know it.