Henry to   back Badon for council

New Orleans — New Orleans City Council District E hopeful Austin Badon on Monday picked up the endorsement of former competitor Dana Henry, who urged his supporters to back Badon during a Dec. 8 runoff election.

Badon claimed 47 percent of the primary vote Nov. 6, while James Gray came in second with 30 percent. Since neither man claimed more than 50 percent of ballots cast, they will face each other in the runoff.

In a statement referencing several recent events, Henry, who came in third place with 9 percent of the vote, said Badon, a state representative, has the experience necessary to lead eastern New Orleans, the 9th Ward and Desire as a member of the City Council.

Taking a jab at Gray, who has faced questions about his residency in the council district, Henry said constituents also want someone “who actually lives in District E.”

“Austin Badon is the only candidate who meets all of those criteria,” Henry said.

While Gray’s home is in District E, it flooded during Hurricane Katrina and is still undergoing renovations. Because of that, he has lived outside of the district.

Legal challenges to Gray’s candidacy failed in court based on the fact that he remains legally domiciled at his Winchester Park Drive home.

“It’s obviously a cheap shot by them,” said Kevin Stuart, a spokesman for the Gray campaign, who noted that every court up to the state Supreme Court upheld Gray’s candidacy.

Taking aim at Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s endorsement of Gray, Henry said the district cannot afford to “return to machine politics that control elections and try to pick out leaders for us.”

Henry followed up by saying that Badon will put his constituents first, alluding to disgraced former District E Councilman Jon Johnson who resigned the seat after he pleaded guilty this summer to federal corruption charges.

“We’ve had enough of elected officials who have looked out for their own self interests and political interests instead of our best interests,” Henry said.