LaToya Cantrell Elected First Female Mayor of New Orleans in Landslide Victory

LaToya Cantrell, a City Council member who first gained a political following as she worked to help her hard-hit neighborhood recover from Hurricane Katrina, was elected the next mayor of New Orleans in a landslide victory.

The historic election made her the first woman mayor in the city’s 300-year history.

“This win tonight is not for me nor my family. This win tonight is for the city of New Orleans. Yes! Absolutely!” Cantrell said as she addressed supporters at the New Orleans Jazz Market.

Cantrell defeated fellow Democrat Desiree Charbonnet with 60% of the vote in the two-person runoff to take the city’s top elected spot after a monthlong campaign. Cantrell said she congratulated Charbonnet not only on her campaign but for making history with her because both runoff choices were women.

A few miles away at the same time, Charbonnet delivered her concession speech.

“I truly do not regret one moment of anything about this campaign — resigning from my position, working every day and talking to people, touching our community and knowing exactly what the needs are. I am so proud to have been in that race,” she said before congratulating Cantrell. “Listen, y’all. If she does well, we all do well.”

Cantrell’s victory was not a surprise, said Clancy DuBos, political columnist for Gambit Weekly.

“The only thing that remains to be seen is exactly what her margin (of victory) will be,” he said.

Early results showed Cantrell winning neighborhoods in her home base of Broadmoor, parts of Uptown and Mid-City and New Orleans East.

DuBos said Cantrell’s victory came amid anemic turnout among voters.

“It’s not like a race … where you had a 60% turnout pretty much everywhere,” he said. “We’re seeing turnouts that might be at or around 20% to some that are 35% or more.”

The Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office unofficially estimated turnout statewide at 12.5%/ Other issues were on the ballot, including a statewide vote for Louisiana treasurer, which Republican John Schroder won with 56% of the vote.

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SOURCE: USA Today; WWL-TV, New Orleans, Danny Monteverde