By Sharon Lurye, Mid-City Messenger
The race for the City Council District B seat has been tough, and it’s not over yet. Incumbent Jay H. Banks won 45% of the vote in the election on Saturday, while challenger Lesli Harris won 37%, meaning that both Democrats will go to a runoff on Dec. 11.
Banks is no stranger to nail-biter races; he won his seat in 2017 by just 128 votes in a runoff against former School Board member Seth Bloom. Harris, an entertainment attorney, doesn’t have previous experience in political office, but she has proven to be a formidable candidate and managed to outraise all of her opponents in campaign contributions.
Democrat Rella Zapletal, an attorney and president of the Touro Bouligny Neighborhood Association, garnered 14% of the vote, winning in two precincts. Independent Rosalind Reed Thibodeaux, who supports more ideological diversity on the council, got 5% of the vote.
Voter turnout in District B was 24%, even lower than the 28% citywide turnout.
A total of 13,228 ballots were cast in the District B race. Banks led Harris by about 1,000 votes, 5,896 to 4,850, so she’ll need to grab most of the votes that went to the two other opponents to beat Banks in the runoff.
Banks also won in twice as many voting precincts as Harris, 48 to 24, as well as in early voting. The incumbent had a strong showing in the Mid-City and Broadmoor areas, while Harris did better in the Lower Garden District and other neighborhoods along the river.
Reporter Sharon Lurye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.