Who really knows?
The December 8 general election has a small ballot.
All Shreveport voters can pull a lever for Shreveport mayor and for Louisiana Secretary of State.
Voters in council districts A, B, C, and D also have separate council elections.
And that’s it.
No federal election for U.S. House of Representatives.
No parish tax renewal.
No national media coverage over mid term elections and potential shifts in power in Washington, D.C.
And for good, bad or indifferent, it’s a Saturday versus a Tuesday election date.
Predicting how many Shreveporter’s go to the polls is sorta like predicting if the groundhog will see his shadow on Groundhog Day.
It’s a toss-up. Or as some would say a “crap shoot.”
Turnout for the November 6 primary in Caddo Parish was 48%. This was higher than many had predicted.
Most observers expect on the higher end a 30% turnout. And on the low end, 25% turnout.
But this mayoral election has been different from the get-go.
In Shreveport’s history of the mayor-council form of government an incumbent mayor has never been challenged by more than one serious opponent. Ollie Tyler had four.
Only one incumbent finished second—and that was by a 14 point margin. Tyler trailed Adrian Perkins by 5 points.
However, the news from city hall since the primary has not been good.
There have been 3 high profile murders. One of a pizza delivery man and the other of a good samaritan couple.
Tyler’s hand-picked police cheif announced his retirement. And then he took medical leave.
Tyler has introduced a budget for 2019 that anticipates spending over 50% of the city’s estimated year end reserves.
And to top it off, Perkins has out raised Tyler in total campaign funds. This despite the fact that she started the year with over $33 thousand dollars in her campaign treasury.
Social media and cell phone communications has taken over the traditional campaign marketing. The combined impact has changed the traditional playbook for candidates seeking votes.
Many factors will be in play next Saturday when the polls open.
Voter interest is always the key. The strong turnout in the primary was fueled in large part by higher participation of younger voters….like 36 and under.
How many disappointed Republicans will turn out, and who they will vote for, is a big question. There is a Republican in the Secretary of State race and in three of the four council runoffs.
Saturdays are always busy days, and especially for those with young children, which can directly impact this energized group. Think sports and birthday parties.
Other distractions include the various hunting seasons and the few remaining college football games.
For those that are counting Christmas shopping days, there will only be 16 left after the Saturday election.
So visits to see Santa and rushing around to buy that one of a kind must have gift can distract well intended citizens from getting to the polls.
Socialites may be so busy getting ready for the always over the top event to be seen at--- Christmas in the Sky -- that voting becomes a low priority. Shreveporters do like to be on the social pages.
Lastly, what will the weather gods send to Shreveport on that day? In this time of the year, change is the only constant in Shreveport weather.
Election day could be sunny, dry and 65 degrees. It could be cold, rainy and almost freezing, as in 32 degrees. Or anywhere in between.
The key to this election will probably be the millenials. Do they skip the polls or try to make a difference?
(This article was published in The Shreveport Times on Sunday, December 2, 2018)