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McKenna: Incumbent Orleans coroner who dropped out of race polling at 30%

Dr. Dwight McKenna

NEW ORLEANS — If polling numbers on the Orleans Parish Coroner’s race are any indication, the incumbent coroner who dropped out of the election too late for his name to be removed from the ballot is still very much in the race.

Orleans Parish Coroner candidate Dr. Dwight McKenna, a 75-year-old former Orleans Parish School Board member who served nine months in federal prison for tax evasion, posted a photo on his Facebook page showing that current Orleans Parish Coroner Jeffrey Rouse has 30 percent of likely voters, while McKenna has 36 percent.

According to the poll McKenna referenced, 34 percent of voters are undecided.

Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse

There’s only one problem with such a poll: Rouse announced on Aug. 24 that he does not want to serve another term as coroner, and since McKenna is his lone challenger, it seemed that McKenna would automatically get the job. According to Nola.com, it’s not that simple.

Rouse dropped out of the race when it was already too late for his name to be removed from the ballot. If he gets 50 percent plus 1 vote, he will have to either serve another term as coroner, or resign so a new election can be held.

Based on the polling data, at least 64 percent of Orleans Parish voters who were polled don’t know that Rouse dropped out of the race.

McKenna and Rouse were in a runoff for the office of coroner in 2014. Rouse won. It was the first time a new coroner was elected in Orleans Parish in more than 40 years.

Rouse said he has met with McKenna and is “convinced that his plan … is the logical next step for the evolution of this office.”

Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 14.