Is it the end, or a new beginning, for the political career of Shreveport Democrat City Councilor LeVette Fuller?
This week, only days prior to qualifying fall elections, Fuller announced she wouldn’t run for reelection in District B. She implied in a radio interview that she experienced some contention with fellow councilors and expressed displeasure at how reapportionment had gone, which seemed to be more of a complaint about drawing the lines in general and not how her own district turned out, although she did criticize moving out the city’s casinos by the Red River.
If so, both irritants harken back to her record since her 2018 election. Although she ran more as a progressive, among Democrats on the Council she more likely than the others of her party backed positions advanced by the Republican minority. Often, these reflected disappointment at the Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins Administration for a number of good government flubs instigated by his policies. This earned her enmity from her partisan colleagues who much more uncritically backed Perkins, as until recently by joining with the other party that faction could act as a majority to stall or defeat Perkins’ preferences.
But with the appointment by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards of a Perkins ally when a previous Republican member resigned, those four Democrats haven’t had to depend on Fuller’s vote, and the reapportionment process solidified a black majority in that district. Those four Democrats voted to enact that plan over her objections, as she maintained city demographics suggested adopting a plan that created four majority-minority districts instead of five.
Yet her deferral could signal her shift to contesting a higher office — a challenge to Perkins. Her record seems perfectly primed to thread the needle of the Shreveport electorate to knock off the incumbent: many solidly liberal votes, but enough votes and rhetoric to attract enough non-Democrats and Democrats disgruntled with the policy and ethical blunders made by Perkins to make a runoff where she could defeat either him or a non-Democrat.
If this is her plan, she would be spectacularly unprepared. Her 2021 annual report showed she had but a few thousand dollars in her campaign kitty and had engaged in no significant fundraising efforts that year. For an office where the winner will have to spend into six figures, unless she dramatically picked up the fundraising pace over the last six months, with no evidence pointing to that, she wouldn’t have the resources to run a quality campaign.
An unfortunate incident a couple of years ago likely disqualified her from this possibility. Arrested for drunk driving, eventually she pled guilty, creating a difficult hurdle to overcome in the minds of voters for the top city office, or perhaps even her current one.
She represented perhaps the best chance to deny Perkins reelection (rumors persist about Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver, who initially had backed Perkins four years ago but soured on him, making a last minute entry even as a Republican, but his advanced age of 76 and checkered past would create a drag on such a candidacy especially among Republican voters), and unless a prominent elected city black Democrat comes out of the woodwork to challenge Perkins, given his opponents at present and the campaigns they are running, it will be an uphill fight to replace him.