Labor Day traditionally is the kickoff for local contested elections. And this election season is no different. Other than several forums, the campaigns of the Shreveport mayoral candidates have been relatively quiet.
Counting from Sunday, Sept. 9, there are fewer than 60 days to the Tuesday, Nov. 6, primary. Thus voters can expect to see the five major candidates — Ollie Tyler, Adrian Perkins, Lee O. Savage, Jim Taliaferro and Steven Jackson — ramp up their campaigns.
This depends, of course, on the amount of campaign funds of each candidate.
The size of each candidate’s war chest is top secret. The first campaign finance reports to the Louisiana Ethics Commission are not due until Oct. 9. It will cover income and expenses of each campaign through Sept. 27. After that, the next report must be filed by Oct. 29 for the time interval between Sept. 27 and Oct. 17.
The Oct. 9 reports will provide a quick read on the chances of success of each candidate. Not only will it list campaign donors, but also campaign reserves.
Candidates can beef up their reports by making personal loans to their campaign. And they can downplay their reserves by holding contributions until after the reporting period before making deposits.
There's more to running a campaign than getting and spending money, of course.
Perkins jumped out with billboards right after his July announcement. He also has started TV ads in recent weeks.
On May 1, Savage opened his campaign headquarters on Youree Drive Extension. In August, Perkins opened his headquarters on Lakeshore Drive near Jewella Avenue. Recently, incumbent Tyler, the incumbent mayor, set up shop on Youree Drive in the Broadmoor area.
The two other major mayoral challengers are Taliaferro and Jackson, a Caddo Parish commissioner. Neither responded to emails asking about plans for campaign headquarters.
Savage has pushed hard to get out over 700 yard signs. Tyler and Perkins, as well as Taliaferro and Jackson, also have yard signs scattered about.
All Caddo schools have been in session for a few weeks. Thus candidates no longer must compete with the back-to-school routine that affects practically everyone.
There are no more major holidays between now and the November primary. With the exception of out-of-town football games and the opening of hunting seasons, most voters are "in town" until Thanksgiving.
Absent a major disaster, Tyler is virtually assured to be in the Dec. 8 runoff election. The big question is who will be her opponent and what the vote margins are between the top five candidates.
As an incumbent, Tyler has a major advantage in raising funds. How successful her challengers are in this critical area is a question that will not be known for another month. Needless to say, campaign dollars will be determinative in the election of Shreveport’s next mayor.
While scrounging for money, candidates are also looking for endorsements. Most endorsements are accompanied by campaign donations. These can have a domino effect on a campaign for more endorsements and donations.
The mayor’s race has been to most a topic for idle conversation since the announcements this summer. This election should become much more prominent in the minds of Shreveport voters between now and Nov. 6.
(This article was published in The Shreveport Times on Sunday, September 9, 2018.)