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Former and current Shreveport Mayor supports Arceneaux over Democrat Tarver

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As the Dec. 10 runoff election approaches, it’s no surprise that political support is rolling in; and local political analysts agree on what Tuesday’s bipartisan endorsement of Tom Arceneaux by Shreveport’s current and two former mayors means for Senator Greg Tarver.

The Arceneaux campaign announced the support late Tuesday night during a fundraiser.

The announcement is big news, especially because two prominent black Democrats, Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins and Louisiana State Representative Cedric Glover, crossed the aisle to support the Republican in the race — though Tarver is also a prominent Democrat is from Black Louisiana.

The political scientist Dr. Theron Jackson calls the latest turn in Shreveport politics an “interesting phenomenon” that neutralizes the stigma that this election is all about race and party.

“That’s interesting because it seems like both candidates in particular were trying to reach out to people who weren’t in their party and didn’t look like them,” Jackson said. “To make this an election that was about something more than race.”

The elimination of racial and partisan lines in politics will allow voters to judge candidates on what they say, what they will do, and what is best for Shreveport. Jackson said support that transcends racial and partisan lines can also make a big difference.

Jackson said politics has evolved into something very nationalized and polarized. This polarization has resulted in people being less concerned about geography and issues affecting them locally. Tuesday’s announcement could be a step in a direction with less political division.

America Ground Radio co-host Stephen Parr said each candidate has a different reason to support the Republican in the race.

There is no love lost between Perkins and Tarver. Tensions between the candidates were evident when they spoke directly to each other during public forums, which, unlike debates, typically do not allow for refutation or cross-talk between candidates.

For Glover, who is a former mayor of Shreveport, a current member of the Louisiana legislature, and a member of the Legislative Black Caucus along with Tarver, it seems like confirmation of party line is automatic.

Parr believes Glover looked at the two candidates and decided Arceneaux was better for the city. Glover declined to comment until Tuesday morning, when the three men are due to appear together for official confirmation.

Former Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler also supported Arceneaux.

There have only been two Republican mayors in Shreveport mayoral history since Reconstruction—yes, post-Civil War Reconstruction. The elimination of racial and partisan polarization allows voters to choose a candidate they believe will successfully rule the city. Jackson said removing the polarizing points is a big step towards improving the quality of life in Shreveport.

“This will force us to move into a space that I think will help this city by doing this about public policy and not about race,” Jackson said.

Par agreed.

“Rather than focusing on the party, maybe we’ll have the opportunity to do so Not Focus on the party and instead focus on competency in the mayor’s office,” Parr said. “Can we get a mayor who successfully copes with everyday life as a mayor?”

Parr said some voters will vote in unison with their party-designate, but hopes they’ll consider who will work to improve roads, get streetlights working and address crime and other issues plaguing Shreveport.

Jackson and Parr also agree that turnout will be low, so December 10 will be all about candidates who can mobilize their supporters and those of former opponents to vote.

“Turnout was 20-30% in the counties where Tarver won. In wards that voted for Arceneaux, turnout was 35-40%,” Parr said. “If Tarver can’t get a higher turnout than Arceneaux, he won’t win. If you look at turnout and Perkins approval, this is an uphill battle for Greg Tarver and it’s very different from what we’ve seen in previous elections in this city.”

Jackson said it might be tempting to make the election a race issue, but with so much unity talk going on during the pre-election campaign, it wouldn’t be good for the city or voters to switch to racial rhetoric.

“Candidates have been talking about unity, and I think some people will notice that that was in the primary,” Jackson said. “So you can’t run in the primary to talk about unity and turn it into a race when it comes to the runoff because maybe it could help you make it a raceable election.”

Perkins and Glover have both rescheduled any comment on mayoral confirmation until Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at Arceneaux campaign headquarters.