Updated May 7, 2024 - Politics

An early look at who's running for New Orleans mayor in 2025

Animated illustration of an aerial view of New Orleans City Hall with a checkbox suspended in front of it, and a checkmark drawing over the box.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

New Orleans City Council members Helena Moreno and Oliver Thomas are considering running for mayor, according to political insiders.

Why it matters: The chatter continues to grow about who will be on the ballot in 2025.

Between the lines: Mayor LaToya Cantrell is term-limited and leaves office in 2026.

The big picture: It's still very early, but Moreno and Thomas are the candidates mentioned most frequently in political circles. Sen. Royce Duplessis' name also is in the mix.

  • No one has made an official announcement about the race.
  • Duplessis didn't respond to inquiries, but he held a fundraiser last month, according to NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.

What she's saying: "I've been very encouraged by the support I've received to run to be the next mayor," Moreno said in a statement to Axios New Orleans, adding the city needs a "24-7 mayor who is about the work and not the perks."

  • Cantrell has come under fire for her travel schedule and use of the city-owned Pontalba apartment.
  • Moreno's website was updated to say "Helena Moreno For Our Future." It mentions a campaign, but doesn't say the ultimate goal.

What he's saying: "Regarding any upcoming elections, the people of [Thomas'] district and this city will decide that outcome whether he seeks to return to his Council seat or any other opportunities," said Brian Egana, Thomas' campaign adviser.

  • Thomas and Moreno both said they are focusing on their daily jobs as City Council members at the moment.

Meanwhile, Belden "Noonie Man" Batiste tells Axios he is considering running.

By the numbers: Moreno leads the pack with fundraising.

  • She got $100,000 in campaign contributions last year, ending 2023 with about $300,000 in her war chest, according to filings with the state.
  • Thomas' campaign ended the year with about $40,000 cash on hand, records show, while Duplessis had about $25,000.
  • Batiste hasn't had any filings since 2021.

Meanwhile, other City Council members, with the exception of Eugene Green, told Axios they are not running.

  • Green's chief of staff tells Axios that the councilman "reserves comment at this time."
  • DA Jason Williams, retired judge Arthur Hunter and former Entergy New Orleans CEO Charles Rice are other names floating around, according to Will Sutton with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.
  • Previous mayoral candidates Michael Bagneris and Troy Henry told Axios they were not running.

Yes, but: We have more than a year before qualifying starts, and political strategist and pollster Silas Lee is "quite sure" more people will throw their hats in the ring.

  • "Some of which we know and many of which we don't know," the Xavier professor tells Axios.
  • "A lot of people can talk about it, but you have to put the money down to qualify" and then you have to have the resources and infrastructure to run a campaign, he said.

How it works: Lee says campaigns don't want to start too early because it burns through money when voters aren't paying attention.

  • The sweet spot with voters, he says, is eight to 10 months, depending on competition and what's happening in the world.

What's next: Candidates will formally announce before qualifying starts in July 2025.

Editor's note: This story was originally published April 29 and was updated May 7 with a comment from Councilman Eugene Green's chief of staff. He previously had not responded.

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