12:06 p.m. - Breaking News

At about 11:45 this morning, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu announced that he will be a candidate for mayor of New Orleans. Should he be elected, he will be the first white mayor of New Orleans since his father, Moon Landrieu, in 1978. The TP reports that Landrieu says he will do:

Everything in my power to make the city of New Orleans the best place it can be. I believe the I have the depth and the breadth of experience to make that happen. I know what to do. I know how to do it.

I will do everything I can to make sure that I bring the people of this city together to heal the racial divide that has kept us apart for so long. God willing, I will be able to do that. 

Here's what we reported at 9:45 a.m.:

If there’s smoke, it’s still not definite there’s fire when it comes to Mitch Landrieu, but the rumors have been heating up again about the lieutenant governor and Crescent City resident jumping into the New Orleans mayor’s race. A headline story in The Times-Picayune says sources close to Landrieu are urging reporters to attend a 10 a.m. news conference today, at Cafe Reconcile, in New Orleans’ Central City, where Landrieu may announce his candidacy. The T-P also reports that Landrieu was calling financial backers to tell them he was planning to qualify for the race. As recently as November, Landrieu told The Independent he had no plans to seek the job. Qualifying begins tomorrow, Dec. 9, and continues through Friday, Dec. 11; the election is Feb. 6, 2010.

Landrieu’s candidacy adds another layer of complexity to a crowded field of seven candidates who have already announced their campaigns to replace term-limited Mayor Ray Nagin. Attorney Rob Couhig, insurance executive Leslie Jacobs, millionaire businessman John Georges, business consultant Troy Henry, state Sen. Ed Murray, housing activist James Perry and former Civil Court Judge Nadine Ramsey have all announced plans to run. This will be the third time Landrieu attempts to fill his father’s shoes, following his loss to Nagin in 2006, and a 1994 attempt, when he won only 10 percent of the vote, the T-P reports.

 

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