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Mayoral continuity, Council change likely in Shreveport

The initial round of Shreveport city elections produced little that would indicate that the agenda coming out of its government would differ significantly from that of the past many years.

Most relevant of shaping this agenda, the mayor’s race, came up trumps for Mayor Cedric Glover. Corralling only about a third of the vote four years ago and running second after the general election, this time the Democrat finished well ahead of his rivals although five points away from avoiding a runoff. If this was a referendum on a term that included much criticism for lack of transparency and secretiveness with perhaps the signal credit his administration can draw is replicating a decrease in crime happening in almost every large American city, then enough of the electorate liked what they saw.

Current City Councilman Bryan Wooley positioned himself in the runoff with just over a third of the vote. This never was in doubt despite a local TV station a few days before the election breathlessly announcing poll results from what was deemed a credible source that showed the Republican slipping below independent Caddo Commissioner David Cox, who ended up with a pittance of the actual vote. With Shreveport’s GOP establishment solidly behind Wooley and being well-funded, the sparsely-funded Cox without much of a campaign organization was a longshot from the start, leading to rumors he actually was a Glover plant.

Wooley’s only real hope in the election was to consolidate all of the more conservative vote and hope anti-Glover feelings among blacks and white liberals split their vote up so decisively that he could win without a general election runoff. That didn’t happen and now his chances to win are slim at best. With a majority black electorate and Glover’s ability to get out the vote in runoffs (which propelled him to victory in 2006 even trailing after the general election), only a major blunder by Glover can cost him reelection.

Even the providential fortune of the runoff being on Nov. 2 with an eager Republican electorate and disinterested Democrats that will lead to huge Democrat losses nationally, this mostly has been cancelled out from helping Wooley because of the spirited effort lieutenant governor candidate Democrat Caroline Fayard is making. Having racked up almost 85 percent of her votes from the state’s major metropolitan areas of Orleans, East Baton Rouge, and Caddo (leading it with almost a third of the vote), while she cannot win without a major blunder by her opponent Republican Sec. of State Jay Dardenne, she was encouraged by national Democrats to run precisely to stimulate minority turnout. While their real payoff would happen in the Second Congressional District, to a lesser degree the impact will be felt in Shreveport and basically ending Wooley’s hopes.

Her well- and largely self/insider-funded campaign also may spell trouble for the white surviving candidate in the most intriguing of city council races, District B where former Democrat operative Jeff Everson faces off against attorney Sheva Sims who rode Glover’s big turnout increase in the 2006 runoff to within six votes of knocking off the white Democrat incumbent. While the black Democrat trailed Everson, he’ll have difficulty picking up much of the trailing candidates’ votes and may not even get more of the new vote coming in.

District A’s results left us with a matchup between an old political force and, well, an older political legend. Rose Wilson McCulloch, daughter of black political pioneer Hersey Wilson, led black political pioneer and octogenarian Dr. C.O. Simpkins in the general election, Democrats both. While Simpkins’ legendary civil rights status probably will keep McCulloch from making insinuations about his fitness for the job, her elected presence in the district and campaign organization of long-standing probably can leverage her to victory in the runoff.

The voters of District D once again showed their obstreperous nature of disdaining more establishmentarian candidates (in 2006 they sent the rookie Wooley to Government Plaza despite the presence of a past councilman and present commissioner in that contest) by giving independent Philip Templeton a small lead going into the runoff against Republican Michael Corbin, despite Corbin raising twice as much money as him with a good chunk of it from commercial interests. This gives Democrat interests a chance to steal surreptitiously a long-time GOP seat as the likes of former Mayor Keith Hightower back Templeton. One might think that the supporters of the vanquished Republican in the race, Deanna Candler, would tip the balance in favor of Corbin, but she was critical of him during the campaign. Anything less than her support might lose the seat for the party.

1 comment:

Landman of the Apocalypse said...

Secretiveness? We certainly ought to refudiate that!