As they say in the backwoods, there is a big difference between “talkin’” and “nouncing” —and an even bigger difference between “nouncing” and “qualifin’.”
Shreveport now has three individuals who have officially announced their intentions to run for mayor.
In January, Mayor Ollie Tyler had a low key announcement that she would seek a second term. Adrian Perkins announced on Thursday April 27 and Lee O. Savage on Saturday (April 28) afternoon.
All three made their intentions known before the results of Saturday’s tax vote were known. Several other mayoral wannabes have delayed their decisions until these votes were tabulated.
Tyler and Perkins are black Democrats. Savage is a white Republican.
Tyler is 73, Perkins is 32, and Savage is 64.
Tyler’s only elected position is her current one. Neither Perkins nor Savage have ever run for political office.
Tyler’s performance as mayor will define her campaign. Perkins will campaign on his future vision for Shreveport. Savage will focus on the City’s needs.
Tyler’s background is public education. She has been a Caddo teacher, principal and superintendent.
Perkins is a West Point graduate and veteran of military service. He will graduate from Harvard Law School in May.
Savage has a business background. He currently is the general manager of a local heating/air conditioning company.
As an incumbent, Tyler has a definite advantage over Perkins and Savage. However, her age and anti-government sentiment could be election challenges.
Perkins will emphasize his youth, his military background, and his ideas for his hometown. He will no doubt argue that his lack of local political experience is a positive versus a negative. Perkins is first mayoral candidate to have a posted billboard for his campaign.
Savage will emphasize the failure of leadership at city hall. He says that corruption is running rampant through city government and he will stamp it out. Currently, Savage is the only candidate with a campaign office.
No doubt the April 28 tax vote will shape the mayor’s race. Additionally crime in Shreveport, and its larger than life perception, will be a key campaign issue. Another is jobs, or the lack thereof, for all sectors of the city.
Most politicos doubt that a white candidate can win the mayor’s race. The real question is if Savage can play the spoiler’s role and get into the run off.
In 2014 Victoria Provenza , a white independent candidate, knocked out early front runner Patrick Williams in the primary. She was trounced in the run off. Savage can expect the same fate if he gets into a run-off.
Former Shreveport homicide detective Rod Demery was seriously considering a run for mayor. Known for the TV series “Murder Chose Me”, Demery announced on Facebook recently that he would not enter this race.
Caddo Commissioner Steven Jackson, a black Democrat, has been positioning himself to run for mayor for quite some time. He has delayed any decision until the tax election. Jackson previously served in the Glover administration and will have the backing of Glover if he enters this race.
Ray Smith , a white Libertarian, has a FaceBook page “ Ray Smith for Mayor of Shreveport.” John Paul Young, a white independent, also has a Facebook page for mayor. Neither candidate is expected to draw any significant votes if they qualify.
Retired Shreveport Police officer Jim Taliaferro, a white Republican, is also kicking the mayoral election can.
Tyler, Perkins, and Savage will probably run the course. There is some street talk that if all the Saturday tax votes failed, Tyler may not seek re-election.
Qualifying dates for the November 6 election are July18-20. So there is plenty of time for reconsideration of a mayoral run, and for others to jump into the race.
With three announced candidates, time is not on the side of any other serious candidate in the sense of putting together a successful campaign. With the possible exception of Jackson, it looks like the field for Shreveport’s next mayor is now set, with Tyler, Perkins, and Savage.