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Monday, June 4, 2018

2018 SHREVEPORT MAYOR’S RACE

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First look at the candidates and what not

Two things can be said about the upcoming mayor’s race this fall.

In one sense, it’s still early for potential candidates. In another sense, it’s getting late for a candidate to throw a hat in the ring.

Qualifying is July 18-20. The primary election is Nov. 6.

One can expect big things to start happening soon in this upcoming election. To date the field includes current mayor Ollie Tyler and seven wannabes.

As the incumbent, Tyler has a builtin advantage. And to date she is the only woman in the race. A Democrat, Tyler is the oldest candidate by a considerable margin. She will be 74 in January of next year.

In contrast, Adrian Perkins is the youngest candidate at age 32. Perkins, like Tyler, is a black Democrat. He was the first to have a public announcement and the first candidate to have billboards.

Perkins is a West Point graduate, and he has served three combat tours. He graduated from Harvard Law School last month.

Lee O. Savage, a white Republican, had a public announcement the same week as Perkins. Savage is the only candidate with a campaign headquarters. Savage is the manager of a Shreveport heating and air conditioning company. He is 62. He is a graduate of LSU-Shreveport.

Jim Taliaferro has recently jumped into the race. He ran unsuccessfully for Shreveport City Marshal in 2014 against Charlie Caldwell. He also served in the Navy and the Air Force. A white Republican, Taliaferro is 65.

John-Paul Young, the son of Caddo Juvenile Judge Paul Young, is also in the race. Young is the first candidate to have yard signs. Young is the co-owner of a popular eclectic restaurant, The Levee. He is best known for constructing over 50 gardens in private yards, churches, schoolyards, community centers and parks with over 1,000 fruit trees. He is white and will qualify as in “Independent.”

Young has a master’s degree from Camgridge University/Princeton and a law degree from New York University.

Ray Smith announced his candidacy at Superior Grill restaurant. Smith is currently a sheriff’s deputy in Jefferson Parish. He is an Army veteran. Smith, age 37, is a graduate of LSU-Shreveport. He is white, and he is running as an Independent.

The candidates certainly provide many contrasts. There are two black Democrats, two white Republicans and two white Independent candidates. They range from 32 to 73. All are male except for Tyler.

Three candidates are military veterans. Only two candidates have previously been a political candidate.

If local politics is one’s favorite sport, the rest of the year will be exciting. And for John Q. Public, they will certainly be defining as far as Shreveport’s next four years.

John E. Settle Jr. has been a resident of Shreveport since January 1977. His articles appear regularly in local publications. He can be reached at 742-5513 or e-mail to: John@jesettle.com.

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