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New Orleans residents unhappy with the way direction their city is going are seeking to recall Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who called the effort a Republican-backed ploy to undermine the city’s first Black woman mayor.
Organizers told local media Tuesday they had 2,100 registered voters sign a petition to get the recall question on the ballot.
The petition was filed in Baton Rouge by Eileen Carter and Beldon “Noonie Man” Batiste. Carter once worked for the city as a social media manager, according to a March 2021 social media post from Cantrell’s office.
“I’m glad to see everyone coming together. It’s not about Democrat or Republican, it’s about the City of New Orleans and the people,” organizer Shannon Assaf told Fox 8. “New Orleans deserves better leadership, for sure.”
Organizers have 180 days to collect 53,500 signatures, or about 20 percent of registered voters in New Orleans. The move comes as violent crime continues to plague the city. Cantrell has also been criticized for her extensive travel, such as a $47,000 trip to the French Riviera.
If the required number of signatures are verified, a special election would be called by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Cantrell’s support for a suspected carjacker in juvenile court outraged many, the news outlet reported. The 17-year-old suspect allegedly shot a man while carjacking him in July.
In a statement, Cantrell called the effort a GOP-backed play by those with a political agenda.
“It fits into a long history of taking away our vote and our voice. That’s why we have reason to believe a conservative DC firm has signed on to lead the effort,” she said. “That’s why many GOP organizations in the city is encouraging people to sign the petition. That’s why Fox News is leading the propaganda charge.”
“Crime is deeply personal to the mayor. She has an altar in her office where she prays over funeral programs of gun violence victims,” the statement continued. “She has embedded herself at NOPD roll calls to get a strong grasp of department needs. And she is fighting to end the federal consent decree which hurts recruitment, prevents them from chasing criminals, and buries them in burdensome and unnecessary paperwork.”
Cantrell took office as mayor in 2018 and was reelected in 2021.