BREAKING NEWS: Landrieu Elected Mayor of New Orleans

Member of political dynasty is the first white mayor of the Crescent City since his father left the office in 1978.

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NEW ORLEANSLt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu appears to have routed five major challengers in today's mayoral primary, riding extraordinary biracial support to claim a rare first-round victory.  With 90 of the city's 366 precincts counted, Landrieu had 64 percent of the vote, according to WWL-TV. His closest challenger, businessman Troy Henry, had 15 percent, according to the web site, NOLA.com.

When he takes office May 6, Landrieu will become the Crescent City's first white chief executive since his father, Moon Landrieu, left the job in 1978. Early analysis shows that Mitch Landrieu's victory owed to widespread crossover voting by African-Americans, who make up two-thirds of the city's residents, the site reported.

 Because of that disparity, Landrieu predicted recently that his election could be an "uneasy moment" for black residents who still feel politically and economically disenfranchised. Making his third bid for City Hall's top job, Landrieu picked up enough votes to avoid a runoff that appeared to be a near-certainty just two months ago. So definitive was his win that political pundits declared Landrieu the victor just a half-hour after the polls closed, with the first of his opponents conceding before 9 pm.

His victory cements the Landrieu clan's status as Louisiana's preeminent political dynasty. As Landrieu, 49, a four-term state lawmaker from Broadmoor who has served as Louisiana's No. 2 official for six years, prepares to assume what is arguably the most powerful political job in the New Orleans region, his sister, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, begins her 13th year in the U.S. Senate. Another sister, Madeleine, sits on the Civil District Court bench

 

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For the first time in almost 30 years, there is no African-American front-runner in the New Orleans mayoral primary. That lead is currently held comfortably by Mitch Landrieu, the son of the city's last white mayor Moon Landrieu. The elder Landrieu held the office throughout the 1970s, during which time he racially integrated City Hall, helping usher in unprecedented black political leadership over the next three decades.

If polls can be believed, his son now enjoys 40 percent of black voter support—far higher than that of his rivals, three of whom are black.

Conventional wisdom has it that black New Orleanians are either realizing their "post-racial" moment—or they’re purposely turning away from black candidates out of a sense of racial indigestion, full from years of larded-up black rhetoric and only the dyspepsia of unimproved lives to show for it.

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