While several candidates have announced plans to run for local office, they must make it official this week between Wednesday, July 14 and Friday, July 16, the qualifying period for more than a dozen races in Orleans Parish on the Oct. 9 primary ballot.

Races for mayor, at-large, and district New Orleans City Council seats, as well as Orleans Parish sheriff, civil and criminal district clerks of court, assessor, and the coroner will be on the Oct. 9 ballot. Voters of the 102nd state House district will also elect a new state representative to replace Gary Carter, Jr., who recently won a special election to fill the unexpired state Senate term of Congressman Troy Carter.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell is among those who have publicly announced plans to run for office. Officially kicking off her re-election campaign in April, though she revealed her plans to run for re-election much earlier in an exclusive interview with The New Orleans Tribune last December.  Community activist Byron Cole, who went viral earlier this year in a video railing against gentrification in his 7th Ward neighborhood, has announced plans to run for mayor. Whether any other contenders will vie against Mayor Cantrell is unclear.

Others expected to qualify this week are include District 1 At-large City Councilwoman Helena Moreno, who will likely make a bid to hold on to the seat. District D City Councilman Jared Brossett, who is term-limited in that seat, District C City Councilwoman Kristen Palmer, and former state Sen. J.P. Morrell have each announced plans to run for the District 2 At-large seat.  Councilwoman Donna Glapion, who was appointed to fill Jason Williams’ unexpired term, is barred from running for the seat as a condition of the appointment.

And that means that in addition to the District 2 At-large seat, both the District C and D races will be wide-open fields with no incumbents. We anticipate t that incumbents in Council District A, B, and E will make bids to hold on to their seats, and any or all of them should expect to face at least one challenger. Already, Oliver Thomas, a former member of the New Orleans City Council, has taken a leave from his job as the host of The Morning Show on WBOK 1230 AM, after announcing his plans to challenge incumbent City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen for the District E seat.

Qualifying begins in less than two days, and we have plenty of questions, still. Will a major contender challenge Mayor Cantrell? How will the City Council at large and district races shape up? Who will run to represent District 102 in the state House? It’s certain that we will have a new criminal clerk of court; but what about the four parish-wide races?

Longtime criminal clerk court Arthur Morrell has announced that he will not seek re-election, putting that seat up for challengers who will not have to face an incumbent. First City Clerk of Court Austin Badon publicly declared his candidacy in that race in an announcement today (Monday, July 12). We anticipate that the incumbents in the other four parish-wide seats will seek reelection. They include Sheriff Marlin Gusman, who has publicly said he will run for another term, Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Dwight McKenna, Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams, and Civil District Clerk of Court Chelsey Richard Napoleon, who has already launched a re-election website.

And we expect that they too will face challengers. Susan Hutson, the former independent police monitor, recently resigned her post, declaring her plans to face off against Gusman in the race for Orleans Parish Sheriff.

We could speculate more, but why? There is no way to really who will qualify and for what race until qualifying officially actually begins and ends. At the end of the day on Friday, July 16, we expect to see the names of a few political newcomers and quite a few familiar ones as well. Hey, this is New Orleans, so nothing will surprise us.

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Other important deadlines for the Oct. 9 election are Sept. 8, which is the last day to register to vote by mail or in person; Sept. 18, the last day to register to vote online through the geauxvote.com portal; Oct. 5 the last day to request an absentee ballot and Oct. 8, the last day to return completed absentee ballots to the registrar of voters office.

Early voting for the Oct. 9 race will take place Sept. 25 through Oct. 2 from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. (daily, with the exception of Sundays and holidays).

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