Stone, an Uptown resident and founder of the HERO|farm marketing firm, said he originally decided to run for council based on three major issues — crime, streets and quality of life — but that included in that was an emphasis on making business easier to do in New Orleans.
“If we could cater to small businesses as much as we cater to big business, I think we would see New Orleans making pretty big strides, quicker than we have been,” Stone said.
But as he and Ward discussed their candidacies after the filing period ended, they realized that they shared some obvious similarities. Both are young and Catholic, and both see themselves as progressive Republicans — their statement announcing the endorsement describe the party as in need of rebranding, for example. Given the Democratic lean of the district, they decided the dynamic of the race was better for a single Republican, they said.
“The only way to get into the runoff is to have one Republican running, and a strong Democrat running against Guidry,” Ward said.Jason Coleman, a cab-company owner and Democratic operative also challenging Guidry, acknowledged that the united front will help the Republicans, but said the district still increasingly leans toward a Democrat. Guidry was elected over Republican Jay Batt with 62 percent of the vote in 2010, for example, and the district subsequently lost several lakefront-area precincts in the City Council redistricting.
“I just think it’s a wide-open race at this point, based on everybody’s ability to get their base out and collect those people that are in between,” Coleman said.Stone will now serve as Ward’s communications director. Also in the race are David Capasso, an attorney and another Democrat, and Stephen Gordon, a Lakeview business owner running as an independent.
Guidry began her re-election campaign citing strong ratings from likely voters. Polling conducted on behalf of her team in June — well prior to the campaign beginning — showed a 66 percent approval rating, with her strongest constituency being white Democrats but also including majority support among both Republicans and black voters. The district is about 66 percent white residents and 28 percent black.
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To read the full statement from Stone and Ward, see below:
City Council Candidate Reid Stone Endorses Drew Ward for District A
New Orleans businessman Reid Stone, a Republican candidate for City Council District A, today
announced he will withdraw from the race and endorse fellow Republican Drew Ward to replace incumbent Susan
Guidry in the 2014 council election. Upon exiting the race, Stone said he will also be joining Ward’s campaign as
Director of Communications.
“There has always been mutual respect and a realization that one of us might need to support the other,” Stone said
after the announcement was made on Monday. “With the holidays in the middle of an already short election, we have
determined that it is better to make this decision now to give one candidate six weeks of undivided messaging.”
“Drew and I are both young, Republican, Catholic and in this race for the same reasons,” Stone said. “On the few
major issues in which we deviate, we have found common ground.”
“Just as five candidates entering the District A election sent a strong message about the need for a change in
leadership, our goal is to send an equally powerful message that two candidates can put aside their differences and
join forces for the good of New Orleans. Where my approach has been to address issues like crime, roads, quality of
life and budgets from the mindset of the business community, Drew will do the same but with the added experience at
the neighborhood level to represent and speak for the citizens of New Orleans individually,” Stone said.
“Drew, like me, is not a career politician and he is willing to propose new policies while questioning the motives of
others. This city does not need another politician cozying up to those who put their money into politics to get more
money back out of government. We need someone who has the courage to take a leadership role on issues like violent
crime and commercial zoning rather than go with the flow. Drew has that courage and a proven track record,” said
Stone following the announcement.
Additionally, the strategies of both candidates include empowering and activating the vote of younger citizens who
represent the business startups and growing population of District A who are not currently represented on the Council.
“We want to set an example and unite this group, not divide them,” said Stone.
Ward and Stone acknowledged that they are the only Republican candidates in the 2014 City Council elections.
“Republican has become a term that warrants rebranding, but my focus on poverty and Drew’s community
involvement demonstrate a new face of what it means to be a Republican in New Orleans and what it means to put
service above politics,” said Stone. “Drew Ward’s military and activism history is the right combination to create
proactive, not reactive, leadership in our community while creating more jobs through small businesses in New
Following the announcement, Drew Ward stated, “I am honored to have earned the support and backing of
Reid Stone and consider my campaign and our city lucky to be given the chance to benefit directly from his
proven strengths in business. It’s rare in politics that those who undertake the sacrifices required of running for
office do so with noble intentions. I truly believe Reid and I are both among those in this season’s election
fighting the good fight for the betterment of New Orleans.”
“Separately, our individual campaigns sent the message that the residents and businesses of District A are not
happy with the direction of local government and that we will not stand by while a select few push to maintain
the status quo,” said Ward. “Together, Reid and I will combine forces to not only communicate our message to
voters in a powerful way but also collectively give a loud, unified voice to all those friends, neighbors and
neighborhoods who have been silenced in the ‘rebuilding’ of their own city.”