Clarkson moving closer to running for District C seat

Councilwoman was set to retire


New Orleans City Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson is sounding less and less like a woman who is about to retire.

The Gambit, citing an anonymous source, reported Sunday that Clarkson will definitely jump into the District C race.

She has been courted by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and others since Kristin Gisleson Palmer announced unexpectedly Tuesday she wouldn’t seek another term in the seat she has held since 2010, but Clarkson would not confirm Sunday evening that she has made a final decision.

“It was ‘absolutely no’ at first,” she said by phone. “But I’ve been so overwhelmed with, ‘Please come back.’ ”

Clarkson said her husband is agreeable to the idea of another campaign and that she will make a final decision by Tuesday, which is about as late as possible. Qualifying for the Feb. 1 primary starts Wednesday and ends Friday.

It’s not hard to see why Landrieu would want her to run for her old district seat. Clarkson, like Palmer, has been a generally reliable vote for the mayor’s policies. The only other announced candidate for the seat, former Civil District Court Judge Nadine Ramsey, would be an unknown quantity.

Other, lesser-known candidates — Craig Mitchell, vice chairman of the City Planning Commission, has said he is mulling a run — would have a relatively brief window at this point to raise money and heighten their public profile.

If Clarkson does run, the mayor would certainly be in a position to help. He is heading into his own re-election campaign with a big war chest, strong poll numbers and so far only one, underfunded opponent, local NAACP President Danatus King.

Clarkson, still vigorous at 78, will be forced by term limits next year to give up the at-large seat she has held since 2007. She represented District C on the council from 1990 to 1994 and from 2002 to 2006, and in between was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, representing Algiers.