by Clancy DuBos
Two-term at-large New Orleans Councilmember Jackie Clarkson will announce on Tuesday that she is running for the District C seat being vacated by Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, who announced last week that she would not seek a second term.
From the moment Palmer announced she would not run again, Clarkson's cell phone lit up with callers urging her to run — including Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Clarkson has been a staunch ally of the mayor for the past four years and often refers to him as "the best mayor I've had the pleasure to serve with." The plan, according to a source close to Clarkson, is for Landrieu to formally endorse her at her announcement on Tuesday, along with a group of civic, business and community leaders.
In running for the District C seat, Clarkson will be returning to her roots. Her first foray into elective politics came in 1990 when she won an open election for that seat. She lost a bid to keep that seat in March 1994 to state Rep. Troy Carter, but then won Carter's state House of Representatives seat in a special election in the autumn of that same year. She captured the District C seat again in 2002, then lost her first bid for an at-large council seat in the spring of 2006.
When Oliver Thomas resigned from the Council in the midst of a bribery scandal in the summer of 2007, Clarkson won the special election to succeed him that November. She has held that at-large seat since.
Clarkson easily will be the front-runner in District C, and her entry could keep some others from running — though the Feb. 1 primary is sure to be contested. The only other announced candidate thus far is former judge and one-time mayoral candidate Nadine Ramsey. Qualifying runs this week from Wednesday through Friday.