Organizers of Mayor Cantrell recall effort claim to be within 1,029 signatures of petition goal
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Organizers of the effort to supplant New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell claimed Monday night (Feb. 13) to be within just 1,029 signatures of the petition total needed to trigger a recall election.
The claim, which could not be independently verified by Fox 8, came in an Instagram post on the group’s nolatoyarecall page. Mayor Cantrell’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the recall organizers’ claim.
If true, the recall effort once given slim chances of success by political observers would be within striking distance of success with just nine days remaining. The petition must be submitted to the Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters by Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22.
The recall petition effort was launched last Aug. 26 by community organizer and former mayoral candidate Belden Batiste and Eileen Carter, a former member of the Cantrell administration’s social media team. To trigger the recall of an elected official in Louisiana, a petition must be submitted containing the signatures of 20 percent of the eligible registered voters in a parish, and it must be turned in within 180 days of the initial filing date.
It was initially believed that the Cantrell recall effort would require at least 53,000 signatures to succeed. But as Fox 8′s Lee Zurik reported Feb. 3, that estimate may have been too high.
Sources and a document obtained from Ardoin’s office through a public records request showed that on the date the petition was created, there were only 249,876 active and eligible voters in Orleans Parish, meaning the petition could succeed with around 49,976 qualified signatures.
Sources confirmed to Fox 8 that inactive voters on a parish’s rolls do not count toward the total of registered, eligible voters, for purposes of a recall petition. The final word will come from the registrar’s office, which will have 20 days after the petition is submitted to examine and certify how many signatures were obtained from eligible, active and registered Orleans Parish voters.
Fox 8 political analyst Dr. Robert Collins -- a public policy professor at Dillard University -- said it no longer appears to be an upset if the organizers succeed. They have utilized around $500,000 in donations that have helped fund a robust television, radio and internet advertising campaign, along with two targeted mailings to New Orleans’ residents homes.
“They’ve spent over a half-million dollars in this campaign,” Collins said. “It’s a well-funded recall campaign. When you have that kind of money to spend, you can get results.
“This recall campaign is better-funded and better-organized than any recall campaign that I’ve certainly ever seen in my career.”
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