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Shreveport poised for major immediate break

A couple of high-profile Shreveport incumbents didn’t have a good election day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean new faces and ideas will come on board city government.

One does certainly look headed out the door. Democrat Mayor Ollie Tyler drew a measly 24 percent of the vote, making the runoff but behind Democrat lawyer Adrian Perkins, This constitutes a massive repudiation of Tyler, made more stinging in that voters elevated past her vote total someone half her age with zero political experience and next-to-none at all outside of the military and school. More would rather have a blank slate than her.

These numbers – over three-quarters of the electorate rejecting her and a newcomer leading her by five points in the general election – give her little chance to win the runoff. Only if she absolutely scares voters by pointing out Perkins’ inexperience and less becoming aspects of his commitment to Shreveport, such as he hardly has lived there his adult life and when he voted for himself that marked the first time he ever had voted, can she make voters that already rejected her reject him – but that doesn’t mean they’ll then change their minds about her.

It’s perhaps little solace to her that one member of the City Council that has clashed with her on several issues, Democrat Willie Bradford, found himself in a runoff with the woman he unseated four years ago, Democrat Rose Wilson McCulloch. Then, they ended up even after the general election, which never is good for an incumbent for the reason described above. With roles reversed, this time Bradford led 44-31, which probably provides enough of a margin to squeak into another term.

But another incumbent facing another former councilor wasn’t so lucky. Voters dumped the outspoken and controversial Democrat Stephanie Lynch, replacing her with a blast from two decades past, former seat occupant Democrat James Green. And Republican James Flurry, with his district’s demographics changing away from his base, barely held his post.

Among fresh faces taking over because of term limits, as expected Democrat Levette Fuller led Republican Wendy Vance and should wrap it up in the runoff. And Republican Grayson Boucher must breathe a sigh of relief that Democrat Versa Clark squeaked into the runoff instead of Republican Joey Hester, making Boucher the clear favorite.

Finally, Patrick Kirton and John Nickelson, both Republicans and as anticipated, will square off., with the latter leading the former 45-35. Thus, five new faces could appear in council chambers next year (Jerry Bowman faced no competition), but likely four, along with a new mayor.

By contrast, Caddo Parish School Board elections showed great continuity, with the partisan balance remaining the same as it had from 2014. Only Durwood Hendricks, an appointee to a district that didn’t really match his partisanship (he ran as an independent after previously for another office ran as a Democrat) got dumped by Republican Tony Nations. And Republican incumbent Deneé Locke decisively turned away Democrat Sumer Cooner, whose campaign drew more news about its style than its substance.

In contrast to Caddo, runoff results likely will put Shreveport city government in the mood for a decisive break from the immediate past, even if potentially a couple of retreads come along for the ride.

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