Expect a tiny turn-out in the May 4 run-off election between attorney Jalila Jefferson and housing activist Rosalind Peychaud for the House District 91 seat.
Fewer than 4,000 or 19.3 percent of the HD91 residents cast ballots for a total of four candidates in the April 6 primary election to fill the House seat vacated by City Council member-elect Renee Gill Pratt. And with the Saturday run-off falling on the second weekend of Jazz Fest, voter turnout should be "about the same" as the primary, according to Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters Louis Keller.
Jefferson, the daughter of Congressman William Jefferson and niece of Fourth District Assessor Betty Jefferson, finished first in the primary with 45 percent. Peychaud followed with 38 percent; assistant district attorney Shane Landry, 16 percent; and Melva Vallery, 0 percent.
"We are very happy; we are very pleased," says Jamila Jefferson, an attorney and manager of her sister's campaign. "We think Jalila really connected to the people in the district. ... She especially excelled in the 11th Ward (Central City)." The Jefferson camp plans to continue canvassing the district, which also includes Uptown and the Garden District.
Voter turn-out is important to Peychaud, says spokesperson Bill Rouselle. "We want to generate a larger turnout, even though we have a Jazz Fest weekend and the election is just two days before the inauguration of the mayor and the new city council," he says. "Rosalind has a very strong showing in predominantly white precincts and middle-income black precincts. We have to get her into other precincts. We have to counteract the army the opposition has on the streets."
Rouselle says he considers 55 percent of the primary vote a vote against Jefferson. Last week, however, third-place finisher Landry (633 votes) -- the only white candidate in the race -- endorsed Jefferson in the run-off.
Meanwhile, in the House District 102 race to fill the vacancy left by City Council-member-elect Jackie Clarkson, city official Jeff Arnold won a first-primary victory with 66 percent of the vote. Attorney Demetrie E. Ford was second with 16 percent; Evelyn McCoy Gastinell, 11 percent; furniture store owner Kenneth P. Garrett, 5 percent; and Dillard University police chief Christopher Williams, 3 percent. A total of 4,044 votes or (19 percent of the registered voters in the West Bank district of Algiers) were cast in the primary election.
Jordan Stepping Up
Now that Orleans Parish District Attorney Harry Connick is stepping down, former U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan is stepping up efforts to fill his shoes. Jordan told us last week he is putting together his campaign organization, which so far includes campaign finance chair Burnell Moliere, pollster Silas Lee III, media consultant Deno Seder, media buyer Ray Reggie, and campaign treasurer Jack Swetland.
"I still have several positions to fill, including campaign manager and an additional public relations consultant," Jordan says. He also released a Silas Lee poll last week that showed 41 percent of all voters would elect him as the next district attorney. The poll was begun March 27 and completed April 2, shortly after Connick announced his retirement plans.
Jordan's nearest competitor was "undecided" at 37 percent, followed by former Criminal Court Judge Morris Reed, 11 percent; Clerk of Civil Court Dale Atkins, 6 percent; attorney James Gray, 3 percent; and attorney William Wessel, 2 percent.
Asked why the poll did not include Chief Deputy City Attorney Franz Zibilich, who is reportedly eyeing the race, Jordan says: "The more people who are in the race, the better it is for the person with the highest name recognition. I really haven't given a lot of attention to who is in the race and who is not in the race." Zibilich could not be reached at presstime.
The primary election is Oct. 5; the general election is Nov. 5.
Thinking about running for political office? Campaign strategist Sidney Arroyo, who has been involved in more than 50 political campaigns since 1991, will conduct a one-day "political candidate school" beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18 at the Quality Inn Midtown, 3900 Tulane Ave.
The one-day seminar promises to teach prospective candidates and campaign operatives "the nuts and bolts of running a successful political campaign." The seminar also pledges "guest expert" presentations on direct mail, printing, campaign workbooks and lunch. As a campaign strategist, Arroyo recently helped engineer upset victories for Republican City Councilman-elect Jay Batt and Democrat Jimmy Fahrenholtz. Arroyo also played key roles in the campaign of Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub and in U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's successful bids for state treasurer. He currently co-hosts It's Only Politics, a political news/talk radio show airing 7 a.m. weekdays on WBYU 1450 AM.
Arroyo's own past jobs include public relations consultant and lead singer for Vince Vance and the Valiants, a local rock band he left in 1987. The cost of the one-day class is $160; for more information call 524-9642 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.