Jay Banks was elected to the New Orleans City Council on Saturday, eking out a victory over challenger Seth Bloom, who reportedly isn't ready to concede the race.
With all precincts reporting, Banks led Bloom by just 131 votes.
District B covers a diverse collection of neighborhoods, including Central City, the Garden District and Lower Garden District, Broadmoor and parts of Uptown, Mid-City and Bayou St. John. The seat is now held by Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who was elected the city's next mayor Saturday.
Banks, a former King Zulu, pledged to help residents burdened by the rising cost of living, claiming his opponent is ignoring the problem. Banks is also a stalwart of the political group BOLD, short for the Black Organization for Leadership Development.
Banks, 57, promised to freeze property taxes for cost-burdened residents at something close to a property's pre-Hurricane Katrina value, with only cost-of-living adjustments added, no matter how much the property is worth now. He vowed to work with the Legislature if necessary to change the law.
Bloom, a 40-year-old criminal defense attorney and former Orleans Parish School Board president, had vowed to reduce the density of short-term rentals. He also said he would "consider" requiring rental owners to have homestead exemptions for their properties, though perhaps not in all neighborhoods.
Bloom had emerged as the front-runner following the Oct. 14 primary, leading a field of six candidates with 40 percent of the vote compared to Banks' 27 percent.
Bloom bristled at his opponent's claims that he was tied to "any sort of political machine," accusing BOLD of "cutting deals all over the place" with different candidates.
Banks' victory came even though Bloom dominated him in fund-raising; indeed, Bloom raked in more than four times the amount Banks has this year, according to campaign finance reports show. Those contributions included strip club operators and supporters of short-term rentals.
Banks accused Bloom of being "bought and paid for by strip clubs," citing his campaign contributions. "He is far more of a pay-to-play candidate than I ever will be," Banks said of his opponent.
He also attacked Bloom for his absences from meetings when he served on the School Board. Bloom pushed back against those claims, saying he had been "very active" during his last two years on the board.