The efforts to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell have failed.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday, following an official count of petition signatures, that only 27,243 signatures of the more than 67,000 on the petition sheets were valid.
That total is approximately 18,000 signature short of what was needed to force a referendum.
In a statement reacting to the news, the Democratic mayor wrote on Twitter to express her gratitude to the residents of her city and for their trust in her leadership.
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"My administration has always remained focused on addressing the real pressing issues that face our city," Cantrell wrote. "Now, with the divisiveness of the failed recall campaign officially behind us, we must heal and recommit ourselves to working collaboratively to continue the progress we’ve made towards reducing crime, increasing public safety, building a more sustainable and resilient city and creating economic and job opportunities that benefit all of our people."
"The recall campaign has been divisive, dishonest, and opaque to say the least. It’s time for New Orleanians to better our city in the way we do best – by coming together," Maggie Carroll, the longtime campaign manager for Cantrell, said in a Tuesday statement.
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Recall efforts against Cantrell – the first woman to serve in her position – began last August, less than a year after she began her second term.
Opponents of the mayor said that the city was "being destroyed." and pointed to questions about the mayor's usage of a city-owned apartment, as well as city infrastructure issues.
In its own statement posted to Twitter, NoLaToya Recall said that it had been met with "countless obstacles" since the summer.
"We could never have known that the moment the petition was filed in August, the recall was doomed due to massive inaccuracies with the Registrar of Voters for Orleans Parish," it said, blasting The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate for allegedly stifling its effort by demanding the list of names who had signed the petition and hitting at the outlet for what the campaign said was attempting to "embarrass elected officials who had the courage to sign."
"The efforts of the recall have only just begun," it promised. "We are exploring all legal options at this time. We will also move forward with legislation to correct the injustice that we were met with along this process."
Cantrell has criticized the recall effort as a Republican-led attack, although she has face problems since her re-election in 2021. The city council recently opened an investigation into the use of public money to send a mailer to residents touting the mayor's accomplishments.
The number of signatures needed to force the recall has been debated in court. While New Orleans Civil District Court Judge Jennifer Medley approved a lawsuit settlement agreement that significantly lowered the number of signatures needed to force a recall election earlier this month, she said another judge would determine whether she should be removed from the case after The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate revealed the judge herself had signed the recall petition.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.