Karen Carter Peterson close to decision to run for mayor


State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson is very close to deciding whether to run for mayor of New Orleans and promises an announcement before qualifying opens July 12.

“It won’t be some 4 o'clock thing on Friday,” Peterson told Gambit. “I’m doing all the due diligence that a serious potential candidate has to do.”

Peterson, who has been in elective politics for almost two decades, stopped short of saying she has decided to run. The fact that she is giving the race this much consideration at a relatively late hour, however, suggests strongly that she is a likely entrant into the race. The last three New Orleans mayors all announced their respective candidacies shortly before qualifying, after others had announced months earlier.

Peterson’s name has been mentioned off and on as a potential candidate for mayor during the current political season, and in past election cycles, but in recent weeks the talk of her possible candidacy has increased.

Peterson said she has been “encouraged by many, many friends” to enter the race based on the current announced field. That field includes former Judge Michael Bagneris, District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet and businessman Frank Scurlock.
Peterson says her due diligence includes polling, strategy, talking to potential campaign team members, assessing her own and her potential opponents’ skill sets — and meeting with at least one other announced candidate: Cantrell, whom Peterson described as “a dear friend.”

“Because we truly are dear friends, I had to meet with LaToya and let her know that I was seriously considering the race,” Peterson said, emphasizing that she has not yet made a final decision to run.
Qualifying is July 12-14, and the coming week should see all sorts of jockeying in the mayoral contest as well as other races on the ballot — for seven City Council seats, sheriff and clerks of Civil and Criminal District Courts.

In addition to her state Senate position, Peterson is a vice chair of the Democratic National Party — a post she said she would continue to hold if elected mayor — and chair of the state Democratic Party. She said she would give up the state position if elected mayor.

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