Former, current Mayor of Shreveport endorse Arceneaux over democrat Tarver

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As the December 10 runoff election approaches, it is no surprise that political endorsements are rolling in; and local political analysts are chiming in on what Tuesday’s cross-party line endorsement of Tom Arceneaux by Shreveport’s current and two former mayor’s means for Senator Greg Tarver.

The Arceneaux campaign announced the endorsement late Tuesday evening during a fundraiser.

The announcement is big news, particularly because two prominent Black democrats, Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins and Louisiana State Representative Cedric Glover, crossed the aisle to endorse the republican in the race – even though Tarver is also a prominent Black Louisiana democrat.

Political analyst Dr. Theron Jackson calls the newest twist in Shreveport politics an “interesting phenomenon” that neutralizes the stigma that these elections are only about race and party.

“This is interesting because it seems that both candidates, particularly, were trying to reach across to get people that were not in their party and didn’t look like them,” Jackson said. “To make this an election that was about something more than race.”

Eliminating racial and party lines in politics will allow voters the opportunity to look at candidates based on what they say they’ll do and what’s best for Shreveport. Jackson said an endorsement that crosses racial and party lines could also go a long way.

Jackson said politics has evolved into something very nationalized and polarized. That polarization has caused people to worry less about the geography and issues that affect them locally. Tuesday’s announcement may be a step in a direction with less political division.

America Ground Radio co-host Stephen Parr said each candidate has a different reason for endorsing the republican in the race.

There is no love lost between Perkins and Tarver. The tension between the candidates was evident as they spoke directly to one another during public forums, which, unlike debates, don’t typically allow rebuttal 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 would seem a party line endorsement would be automatic.

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

Former Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler endorsed Arceneaux as well.

In Shreveport mayoral history, there have only been two republican mayors since reconstruction – yes, post-civil war reconstruction. Removing racial and party polarization allows voters to choose a candidate they believe will successfully manage the city. Jackson said erasing the points of polarization is a great step toward improving the quality of life in Shreveport.

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

Parr agreed.

“Instead of focusing on party, maybe we have an opportunity to not focus on party and instead focus on competency in the mayor’s office,” Parr said. “Can we get a mayor that is successful at managing the day-to-day job of being mayor?”

Parr said some voters will vote in line with their designated party but hopes they consider who will work to improve roads, get street lights working, and address crime and other issues that plague Shreveport.

Jackson and Parr also agree that voter turnout will be low, making December 10 all about candidates who can rally their supporters and former opponents’ supporters to the polls.

“Turnout was 20-30% in districts where Tarver won. In districts that voted for Arceneaux, turnout was 35-40%,” Parr said. “If Tarver is unable to have a higher turnout than Arceneaux, he won’t win. Looking at the turnout and the Perkins endorsement, this is an uphill battle for Greg Tarver, and that is very different from what we’ve seen in previous elections in this city.”

Jackson said that it might be tempting to turn the election into a racial issue, but with so much talk of unity during the campaign leading up to the primary, it would not be good for the city or voters to switch to racial rhetoric.

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

Perkins and Glover both deferred any comment on the mayoral endorsement to Tuesday, November 29, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. at Arceneaux’s campaign headquarters.

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