It’s fair to ask why New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell raised an impressive $461,000 in campaign funds in 2018, three years before she’ll face voters again.
One obvious answer: Because she could.
Politicians don’t always seize on big victories to start shaking the can for the next time around, but those who do can find it a lucrative undertaking. Lots of people want to get in with a winner, and go on record in support of the person who’ll be making key decisions for at least a few years. Those who started off in other camps often use these donations to formally lay down arms.
That would explain why Cantrell’s fundraising kicked up considerably even in late 2017, as it became clear that she was likely to win the election in a rout. It would also explain the significance of a recent fundraiser at Washington Mardi Gras, the proceeds of which won’t be reported until this time next year.
The event was hosted by two of Louisiana’s most prominent politicians, U.S. Rep. and Minority Whip Steve Scalise and U.S. Rep. and assistant to the Majority Whip Cedric Richmond. (The host committee also included former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, sister of Cantrell’s predecessor Mitch Landrieu.)
Both congressmen represent parts of New Orleans, and while Scalise is a Republican and Richmond a Democrat, they often team up.
More to the point, both strongly supported Desiree Charbonnet, Cantrell’s runoff opponent, in 2017. Helping Cantrell fill her coffers is certainly one way to signal that bygones are bygones.