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New Orleans Councilman Jason Rogers Williams

Advocate staff photo by SOPHIA GERMER

Jason Williams has clinched a second term on the New Orleans City Council in Saturday's primary vote, avoiding a runoff for the Division 2 at-large seat, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office.

The 44-year-old Democrat beat out four challengers with varying backgrounds and political experience. Results showed that with all precincts reporting, Williams secured 73 percent of the vote.

"We've got work to do to make it right for all neighborhoods," Williams told WWL-TV after the station predicted his win.

As a relatively popular incumbent, he was the overwhelming favorite.

In the campaign, he made the case that he had been working "tirelessly" to better the city since he was first elected in 2014. Williams pointed to his efforts at improving police response times and reducing the local jail population as his biggest accomplishments. He mentioned, for example, the council's decision to reduce penalties for marijuana possession. 

He has pledged to continue fighting for criminal justice reform, better public health initiatives, more early childcare programs and increased coordination between criminal justice agencies, including the Police Department, the sheriff.

"There really are city priorities that are geared toward the health of the community and public safety as a whole," Williams said in a recent interview. "Where the real rub is, is making sure everybody understands how they fit and work with each other."

Williams also said the city is primed to capitalize on renewable and solar energy and to learn how to better "live with water" by building canals and permeable surfaces that work in concert with the city's drainage system.

Prior to becoming a councilman, Williams was a prominent criminal defense attorney.

His contenders included 64-year-old David Baird, a restaurateur and lone Republican in the Division 2 race, who said he was ultimately out to prove that his party isn't about "white, elitist, Nazi-type idealism that really scares a lot of black Americans."

Baird secured 11 percent of the vote.

Williams also beat Aaron 'Ace' Christopher, a business consultant and civil rights advocate who criticized elected officials for focusing on the removal of Jim Crow-era statues and French Quarter policing rather than on "extreme" poverty and sub-par living conditions.

Christopher got 3 percent of the vote.

Another name on the ballot was Jason Coleman, the 40-year-old Democrat and operator of the Coleman Cab Co. Coleman who had run for office before, campaigning for the District A seat on the council in 2014 and a seat on the Orleans Parish School Board in 2012, losing both times.

Coleman got 9 percent of the vote.

David Nowak, a 34-year-old Democrat and foreman of a film industry equipment rental company, was the other contender for the position. Nowak ran an ambitious campaign focused on fair wages, mental health policy and climate change.

Four percent of the 73,403 voters cast their ballots for Nowak.

A WWL-TV/Advocate poll conducted shortly before the race showed Williams had a commanding lead in early October, with 40 percent of the vote.

All of the other candidates were in single digits, and the undecided had been pegged at 39 percent.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.