Mayor Ray Nagin and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu appeared headed toward a runoff Saturday following the first mayoral election since Hurricane Katrina, a tricky experiment of modern-day democracy that gave scattered evacuees a say in this battered city’s future.
With 49 percent of precincts reporting, Nagin led with 36 percent, or 14,753 votes, to Landrieu’s 29 percent, or 11,983 votes. Nonprofit executive Ron Forman–who had been endorsed by the Times-Picayune, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes this week–followed with 19 percent, and 19 other candidates trailed far behind.
Forman had also earned the backing of many top business leaders.
Since neither top candidate was likely to get more than 50 percent of the vote, Nagin and Landrieu appeared headed toward a runoff May 20.
Elections officials say the voting was steady and unusually problem-free, and while they didn’t immediately have complete numbers, the early returns suggested the turnout could be low.