Attorney James “Jimmy” Harris cruised to victory Saturday over pastor Ray Crawford for the House of Representatives 99th District seat.
With all precincts reporting, Harris, who also works as congressional aide, captured 61 percent of the vote compared to 39 percent for Crawford.
Harris also led Crawford in the Oct. 24 primary, capturing 47 percent of the vote to Crawford’s 31 percent.
Harris will replace state Rep. Wesley Bishop, who was elected to the state Senate last month.
The fight for the House district, which encompasses New Orleans East and the 9th Ward, was cast by Crawford as a struggle between a political powerhouse and an everyman. Crawford says he’s the everyman, and paints Harris as the puppet of a larger political machine.
Harris was backed by U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond, who employs him as an office aide. Crawford charged that if elected, Harris would be little more than a tool of Richmond’s.
But Harris said Crawford is simply angry that Richmond and other New Orleans politicos endorsed him over Crawford. Harris is admittedly well-connected and well-financed — campaign finance reports showed he raised more than $116,000 — but he said those connections prove that he’s the right man for the job.
Harris said he would work to attract businesses to the district through tax-incentive financing and other means. Crawford said helping people rebuild their homes is more important.
Both men said children shouldn’t have to stand outdoors at odd hours waiting for buses. Harris added that teachers should be qualified and certified before they are put in front of children.
Each also said crime is a problem in New Orleans East, with Harris lambasting the New Orleans Police Department’s sluggish response times on calls to that area and Crawford calling for more crime-prevention programs.
Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.