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Moreno for District B? 

State rep says she's being encouraged to run

  The contest for the District B seat on the New Orleans City Council became a three-way race last week when Dana Kaplan, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, announced she would begin collecting the necessary signatures to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. Broadmoor Improvement Association president LaToya Cantrell and Eric Strachan, former chief of staff to Councilwoman Stacy Head, already have announced they will run.

  Now a fourth name has surfaced: State Rep. Helena Moreno.

  Sources tell Gambit that Moreno is seriously considering jumping into the race for District B, which encompasses the CBD, Warehouse District and Garden District as well as parts of Central City, Mid-City and Uptown.

  Reached by phone, Moreno was noncommittal but didn't deny the reports, telling Gambit, "I've had a lot of supporters and many elected officials urge and encourage me to run for this seat."

  Moreno was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2010 in a special election to fill the District 93 slot vacated by Karen Carter Peterson, who won another special election for the state Senate. Moreno previously ran for U.S. Congress in 2008 after leaving a reporting job at WDSU-TV.

  "At this point, I love my spot [in the Legislature]," said Moreno, who is vice-chairwoman of the House Criminal Justice Committee and sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. "But because of the number of calls I've received, I've talked to my team and other elected officials [regarding] how best to serve the city. We'll see what happens."

  The qualifying period for area elections is Aug. 15-17. The open primary will be held Nov. 6, with a runoff Dec. 8 if necessary. — Kevin Allman

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