Council District E candidates heading for a runoff - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Council District E candidates heading for a runoff


Austin Badon nearly squeaks out a victory in the race for the Council District E seat, but it wasn't enough.   He and attorney James Gray will face each other in a runoff election on December 8.

Badon led the field of five candidates with 47 percent of the vote Tuesday.  Gray got 29 percent of the vote.

It was an election to fill the seat of former Councilman Jon Johnson, who resigned after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges. Badon and Gray beat out three other candidates to move to the runoff.

"I've got 47.5 percent of the vote, I almost won it outright.  So what I'm asking people is to continue to believe in me -- I believe in them," said Badon.

"I was hoping for an outright victory, but a runoff seemed probable from the beginning," said Gray.

"You're looking at a contest between two political fighters in terms of wanting an elected office, but one with name recognition and visibility in the community," said political analyst Silas Lee.

Lee says voters will now have to focus on just two candidates in the runoff.  He says voters are going to be very discerning as to what they expect, paying close attention to their respective agendas.

"Badon does have some advantages in terms of infrastructure, name recognition, people know him, so that is somewhat of an advantage.  However, it's a new campaign," said Lee. "We have to see what voters are looking for -- do they want someone new or do they want someone with experience?"

Lee says Gray has support from several top elected officials, including an endorsement from Mayor Landrieu.  But he says Gray must translate those endorsements into voter support.

"We have the momentum. When this race started a month and a half, a couple of months ago, I was running against an eight-year incumbent who everyone knew.  Very few people knew me and I've done very well, and with this team around me we're going to do great," said Gray.

"I've shown that I have proven leadership and I'm the type of person where the things that I said I was going to do, I was able to do at the state level.  And I ask people to believe in me and trust in me that I'm going to do it at the City Council level," said Badon.

Runoff candidates have a very short campaign cycle, less than three weeks before voters head to the polls again.

District E includes New Orleans East, the Lower Ninth Ward and the Desire area.

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