John Settle.jpg

John came to Shreveport in January of 1977 when he was transferred to Barksdale AFB.

He’s been active in Shreveport politics since deciding to make Shreveport his home.

John practiced law for 40 years and he now monitors local politics. He regularly attends Shreveport City Council and Caddo Parish Commission meetings.

John is published weekly in The Inquisitor, bi-monthly in The Forum News, and frequently in the Shreveport Times.

He enjoys addressing civic groups on local government issues and elections.

 

The Republican Problem In The Shreveport Mayor Race

Question: when is one elephant in the room a good thing, but two a bad thing? Answer: when two Republicans are in the Shreveport mayor’s race.

That is the unhappy challenge for the diehard Shreveport Republican crowd.

Lee O. Savage was one of the first candidates to declare his intention to run for Shreveport mayor. As a white Republican, he started his campaign with a virtual built in base of supporters, much like Victoria Provenza in the 2O14 mayoral election.

Savage started out aggressively with a Facebook page, a big announcement event in the ag building at the state fairgrounds and being the first to open a campaign headquarters. He began with two challenges: not being a household name and not having been blessed by the Shreveport Republican hierarchy. Nonetheless, Savage started making some big waves in the election world.

And then along came Jones.... actually along came Jim, as in Jim Taliaferro. (Music aficionados that “Along Came Jones” was released by The Coasters in 2001. This hit is not to be confused with “Along Comes Mary” was recorded by The Association in 1966.)   

Taliaferro filled many squares on the Republican tally sheet. Taliaferro was a known quantity—having had a high profile with the Shreveport Crime Stoppers Program along with his unsuccessful race for Shreveport City Marshal in 2014. And he certainly looks much more comfortable in a coat and tie than Savage, who rarely even wears a sports coat.

To top it off, Taliaferro was a southeast Shreveport candidate—at least on paper. Taliaferro reportedly resides with his mom in Broadmoor. Some say he actually lives on a rural farm outside the city limits. Nonetheless, he is registered to vote with a Shreveport address.

Taliaferro has a military background, which is always a plus to many voters. He is married and has all American pictures with his wife and daughter.

Savage is not a veteran, he is divorced, and he lives on Cross Lake. Savage does, however, have a college degree from LSU Shreveport. Taliaferro is not a college graduate.

Both candidates have a major problem—how to attract black support. However former Shreveport detective and “Murder Choose Me” TV star Rod Demery has endorsed Savage. Demery is a black Republican. Savage has announced Demery will be his police chief if elected mayor.

The voter math says if only one Republican in the race then a that candidate can survive the November primary. But in the December general election, a black candidate will prevail. (Think 2014 with Provenza and Tyler going head to head in the runoff when Tyler coasted to an easy victory.)

It's possible that Savage and Taliaferro will cancel each other out of the runoff. That’s why some observers believe that at some juncture one of the two may drop out and endorse the others. Many do not see Savage falling on his sword for the sake of the Grand Old Party. 

When Taliaferro jumped into the race some politicos thought he was a Tyler “plant” to pop the Savage balloon. There were rumors that if Tyler won, she would reward Taliaferro by naming him to be her new police chief. Of course in political races rumors are always out there, especially in the social media world. And they constantly change.

It’s almost certain that there will not be two Republicans on a December mayoral ballot. Whether or not one of the two will survive the primary is currently anyone’s guess, much less which one.

Needless to say one elephant in the room is plenty, and two is a major headache for Shreveport Republicans. Cleaning up the poop in the “Republican room” is becoming more and more a major issue....

(This article was published in The Inquisitor on Friday, August 24, 2018)

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