Incumbent James Gray and challenger Cyndi Nguyen are headed to a runoff for the New Orleans City Council District E seat after no candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote, according to complete but unofficial results from the Secretary of State's Office.
With all 57 precincts reporting, Gray had earned 38 percent of the 14,758 votes cast. Nguyen had 26 percent of the vote, giving her a 9 point cushion over third-place candidate Alicia Plummer Clivens. Two other candidates, Dawn Hebert and Cederick Favaroth, earned 13 and five percent of the votes, respectively.
District E is New Orleans' biggest district by area, encompassing the Lower 9th Ward as well as all of New Orleans East. The campaign was dominated by three issues: crime, infrastructure and the need for retail development in a part of the city that often feels left-behind.
New Orleans District E is the largest of the city's five council districts, stretching from …
Gray, a 71-year-old attorney, has insisted that he understands that frustration. But he contends there are good things happening in the area, such as new big box stores and a new hospital. The district must continue to become more attractive to both businesses and residents, he said.
Nguyen, a community organizer who leads the Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training, or VIET, lost a bid for city council eight years ago, but resolved to run again.
She says the lack of economic development has fueled the rampant crime problem in the area, and wants to remove red tape to make the area business friendly.
The runoff is Nov. 18.