Michael Luke / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- James Gray is the winner the District E New Orleans City Council over Austin Badon.
In a particularly bitter and nasty campaign, Badon was unable to defeat Gray, who received endorsements from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former City Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis and Congressman Cedric Richmond.
Gray collected 4,288 votes (58 percent) and Badon received 3,086 votes (42 percent).
Gray, an attorney, was able to overcome finishing in second in the primary and legal challenges to whether he resided in the district he will represent.
Gray credited his ardent supporters with helping to carry him to victory. "The people in this room," said Gray. "The people in this room and a lot of people who couldn't make it here tonight who wanted change and who worked very hard to bring it about."
The most pressing issues, according to Gray, facing District E are "adequate police protection to deal with crime, opening a hospital (in New Orleans East), economic development, the (Gentilly Woods) Wal-Mart, bringing small businesses" to the district.
When asked about discord on the council, Gray replied, "I'm the easiest guy in the world to get along with. I think I'd be able to work with anyone. It's not going to be a problem at all to work with the other people on the council."
Badon wasn’t able to secure the seat he lost in a razor-tight run-off to Jon Johnson in 2010. Johnson resigned amid federal charges in July, leaving a vacancy in District E.
Ernest “Freddie” Charbonnet was appointed to fill the seat in Johnson’s absence. Gray will represent the district which covers New Orleans East, the 9th Ward, Desire and Florida neighborhoods.