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Intriguing Shreveport council, judicial races set

Besides the mayor’s race in Shreveport, some other interesting matchups loom for city voters on Nov. 4.

As usual on the judicial side, there’s a good degree of somnambulism involved. Of the 21 judicial contests on the ballot across the parish from Supreme Court down to city court, only three had any competition (almost entirely incumbents skating through unopposed) and two of the contested ones were open seats. But there’s one potential barn-burner challenger vs. incumbent, where City Court Judge Sheva Sims drew a challenge from former prosecutor Terrell Myles, both Democrats.

Sims made headlines last year with a bizarre freeing, apparently over displeasure at city prosecutors, of over a dozen defendants all prepared to plead guilty. This provoked, and perhaps other events (such petitions are confidential) as well, a complaint to the Louisiana Judiciary Commission, which has the authority to recommend disciplining judges. While it has yet to forward a recommendation to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which could impose any penalty, it seems enough dissension about her short tenure on the bench has spawned a movement to sanction her through the ballot box.

Shreveport City Council contests have a certain eternal candidate/back to the future quality about them, inviting bitterness in some cases. In District A, this likely will turn into a proxy match between supporters and opponents of outgoing Democrat Mayor Cedric Glover. This seat is held by his only ally on the issue of whether to retain financial advisor Calvin Grigsby’s services, Democrat Rose Wilson McCulloch, who is being challenged by, among others, former local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People officer and several times past political candidate Willie Bradford. The Democrat Bradford not only was critical of Glover’s failed efforts to keep Grigsby and to avoid action to recoup monies paid to him, but Bradford also took issue with Glover’s handling of the citing of the extension of the Louisiana Highway 3132. Given the animus that Glover has stoked among some black Democrats, Bradford has a decent chance of finally scoring an electoral win.

In District B, black businessman Lynn Cawthorne, running as a Democrat for the second time for elective office after having been a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention and then as one at the Democrats’ 2012 version, is looking to upend white incumbent Democrat Jeff Everson. While Everson seems to have been responsive to the majority-black district, Democrats worry that mono-racial voting habits will emerge, and goodwill that Everson has built up that will attract some black votes will get washed away by some whites voting for Cawthorne that may believe him to be more conservative of the pair.

In District E, the term-limiting of Ron Webb has created a field of main competitors of Republican James Flurry, other party adherent Wanda Wright, and Democrat Durwood Hendricks. District demographics, which are 56 percent white and 29 percent Republican, suggest any two could make the runoff if Wright, who has been connected to organized labor and leftist/“progressive” political activist groups and ran as a Democrat for school board in 2002, can disproportionately attract white non-Republicans.

In District F, the battle likely will come down to black Democrats former Councilman James Green and Caddo Parish Commissioner Stephanie Lynch. Green held the seat after Joe Shyne was term limited, only to have Shyne take it back the next term and once again faces limits a term later. Lynch polarizes observers, some of whom see her as reform-minded, others as a provocatuer and gadfly. How well Republicans warm up to Lynch may be the difference in whether she can win.

And District G seems set to enhance a family dynasty. Jerry Bowman, son of the late Joyce Bowman looks to fill his mother’s shoes, with her having been term limited out of that seat in 2010, whereupon she succeeded in election to the Caddo Parish Commission. Upon her death, his brother Jerald Bowman took over there. Given the popularity of their mother and his brother in the district, Jerry Bowman must be considered the frontrunner to replace incumbent Sam Jenkins, who is chasing the mayor’s office.

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