Nov 172012

In a sign of the unusual dynamics at play in this year’s District B election, LaToya Cantrell picked up the endorsements of one formal rival, third-place finisher Eric Strachan, while Dana Kaplan was endorsed by the fourth candidate in the race, Marlon “Buck” Horton.

How Strachan’s supporters respond to his endorsement could decide the race, as the 24 percent of the vote he garnered Nov. 6 would bring either Cantrell (who led with 39 percent of the vote) or Kaplan (who had 31 percent) over the 50-percent mark in the Dec. 8 runoff. But Horton’s endorsement also underscores the way in which both Cantrell and Kaplan have drawn both high-profile supporters and significant constituencies from across traditional racial lines.

Cantrell was also endorsed this week by two groups that had previously supported Strachan, the Alliance for Good Government and the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee. Her statement about the Strachan endorsement follows in full:

Citing her strong record of concrete results and her leadership in the city’s recovery, Eric Strachan has endorsed LaToya Cantrell in the Dec. 8 runoff. Strachan finished third in the November 6 election.

“I’m supporting LaToya Cantrell because she understands how much violent crime has impacted our great city,” said Strachan, the former chief of staff for Council representative Stacy Head. “She will be tough on crime, but she will also work to improve District B, making it a better place for everyone. From working with the Council, I know you can count on LaToya to deliver.”

Strachan’s endorsement is not in name only, and he has pledged to work with Cantrell on her campaign. For her part, Cantrell is excited to have Strachan as part of her team.

“Eric ran a strong campaign and he focused on vital issues like crime and safety. His endorsement shows that we’re connecting with District B’s diverse electorate,” Cantrell said. “As we move into the final weeks before the run-off, I feel that we’re really seeing the entire community uniting behind my campaign.”

Strachan’s endorsement marks the third big announcement from the Cantrell’s campaign this week. Just two days ago, the Alliance for Good Government announced it was backing Cantrell in the December 8 runoff, and yesterday the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee endorsed Cantrell. The three endorsements show a growing list of major endorsements Cantrell has earned, including the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee. Five prominent elected leaders—Councilmembers Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, State Senators J.P. Morrell and Edwin Murray, and State Representative Neil Abramson—all pledged their support for Cantrell’s candidacy. The Louisiana Weekly and New Orleans Data News Weekly have also endorsed Cantrell.

Kaplan’s announcement about Horton follows in full as well:

Dana Kaplan, a candidate in the December 8th runoff election for City Council District B, was endorsed today by Marlon “Buck” Horton who took six percent of the vote in the first election.

​“I spent a lot of time with Dana at candidate forums and campaigning across District B,” said Horton. “She impressed me as someone who genuinely wants to listen to the people and serve the entire community. On the issues, I believe Dana will be a strong supporter of our young people and a champion for small business owners in our community. Dana’s been working for years to make our neighborhoods safer by attacking the root causes of crime. On the city council, she’ll put that experience to work for all of the people of District B. ”

​Kaplan said she was very pleased to receive the endorsement of Horton.

​“You learn a lot about a person when you spend time with them on the campaign trail,” Kaplan said. “I share Marlon’s concerns about improving the business climate in District B so we can support small businesses and create more good jobs here.”

​Horton, a restaurant owner and entertainer, adds his endorsement to an impressive list of supporters of Kaplan. Kaplan’s campaign has been endorsed and actively supported by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Congressman Cedric Richmond, Assessor Erroll Williams, Sheriff Marlin Gusman and Representatives Walt Leger, Helena Morena and Jared Brossett as well as a diverse group of neighborhood and community groups.

​Kaplan’s campaign was launched by a volunteer-led movement that resulted in more than 1,000 citizens from District B signing a petition to place her on the ballot.

​Kaplan, a homeowner in the Irish Channel, is Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL). Prior to joining JJPL, Dana worked for the Center for Constitutional Rights where she assisted in the development of the Safe Streets/Strong Communities initiative. Through work with community leaders and public officials, Dana helped create the Office of the Independent Police Monitor to provide accountability and independent monitoring to the New Orleans Police Department.

​“I would hope that my campaign can capture the energy that comes from the diversity, hopes and dreams of the people of District B,” Kaplan said. “I want to take the voices of the people into debates about creating jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure and ending the vicious cycle of violence that leaves no neighborhood untouched. I want to be a part of making New Orleans a place where everyone can live, work, study, teach, and play in peace and harmony.”

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