Attorney Jimmy Harris has an early lead in the three-candidate House District 99 race, which could mean he will head to a Nov. 21 runoff.
The 41-year-old Harris has captured 41 percent of the vote, with six of 44 precincts reporting as of 9:32 p.m. One of his opponents, 57-year-old pastor Ray Crawford, has captured 30 percent of the vote, while a third opponent, 24-year-old Markeita Prevost, has about 29 percent of the vote,
If the lead holds and Harris makes the runoff, it perhaps indicates that voters wanted a dab political hand. While it’s his first bid for public office, Harris has worked in and around the local, state and national political scene for years. He’s worked under two New Orleans mayors, two state attorneys general and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, during the latter’s tenures in both the state House and Congress.
Unclear at this point is which opponent will join him. While Crawford might appeal to voters sick of current politicos and anyone connected to them, the fresh-faced Prevost is perhaps even better positioned to do so. However, Prevost might have taken a blow after Harris more or less blasted her personal voting record. Outside of one she presumably cast on Saturday, Prevost has never cast a vote. She said it was because previous office-holders were uninspiring.
Crawford, too, has voted less often than Harris, though more than Prevost.
If Harris is elected in November, he will work to attract businesses to the only partially redeveloped New Orleans East and 9th Ward. He would do so by pushing for more tax increment financing, a device that uses public tax dollars to subsidize developers’ costs. If Prevost is elected, she will work to eliminate the state’s Tuition Opportunity Program for Students, which she said is too costly and should be replaced with a scholarship funding plan that schools and colleges create.
If Crawford is elected, he will work to rehabilitate homes in his district.
Crawford, Harris and Prevost compete to represent residents in the Upper and Lower 9th Ward and part of New Orleans East.
Full New Orleans-area election results available at http://theadvocate.com/elections/state/results/new-orleans.
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Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.