Former Orleans Parish School Board president Seth Bloom and BOLD powerbroker Jay Banks are headed to a Nov. 18 runoff for the District B City Council seat.
Bloom netted 40 percent and Banks captured 27 percent of the vote in Saturday’s primary.
The men shot past four other contenders to clinch the top two spots. Those were architect Eugene Ben-Oluwole, veterinarian Catherine Love, UNO professor Timothy David Ray and Irish Channel block captain Andre Strumer.
The district comprises the area from Canal Street along the Mississippi River to Jefferson Avenue, also encompassing Central City, Broadmoor and parts of Mid-City and Bayou St. John.
In the months leading up to the primary, 57-year-old Banks, who was King Zulu in 2016, locked up much of the political establishment. He was the only New Orleans candidate to secure backing from Gov. John Bel Edwards, and also won over Mayor Mitch Landrieu, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond and a slew of other politicians and powerbrokers.
He also had the benefit of Central City political organization BOLD - formally the Black Organization for Leadership Development - after having long served as its political director and more recently as its chief of operations.
Meanwhile Bloom, a 39-year-old criminal defense attorney and two-term OPSB member, got the backing of the Alliance for Good Government, the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee, the Regular Democratic Organization and other civic or advocacy groups.
And Bloom was clearly the dominant fundraiser in the race, having netted more than $284,000 in the month before the polls closed. That was compared to the more than $25,000 Banks secured, which he supplemented with $20,000 of his own money.
The two spiced up an otherwise tame District B primary, with Banks and BOLD taking aim at Bloom's admission that he struggled with an opioid addiction while on the School Board and Bloom calling Banks comments' a cheap shot.
If elected in November, Banks said he would work to freeze property taxes for cost-burdened residents and tie short-term rental licenses to homestead exemptions.
Bloom said he would advocate for the merger of the city’s Sewerage and Water Board and its Department of Public Works into one entity and for consistent rules for short-term rentals in all parts of the city.
The two will vie to replace City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who gave up her seat on the council to run for mayor.