Saturday, August 25, 2018 … 9:08 P.M.

For many years, the American rule of political thumb certainly included Shreveport: election campaigns kicked-off on Labor Day, and voter interest in notable ones – like mayoral campaigns – built until voting in late-fall or early-winter.

Such seems no longer the case here.

Since the city’s turning-point election in November 2006, when Democrat Cedric Glover defeated Republican Jerry Jones, voter interest builds as candidate qualifying approaches, then wanes as the campaign continues until its election.

Conventional wisdom says Mayor Ollie Tyler is assured one of the two slots in a December 8th general election run-off, and her rumored fund-raising advantage – which she proved in her 2014 win – is more than merely notable.

Tyler’s 2014 election was the product of surprise. Her name surfaced only after news broke of “tax problems” for presumed candidate and then-City Councilman Sam Jenkins.

A scramble of sorts found Tyler to be the consensus candidate among “leaders” who routinely finance eventual winners / mayors.

Tyler, as many readers remember, faced State Representative Patrick Williams, “No Party” newcomer Victoria Provenza, and four others whose combined primary vote was less than 10%.

Unlike now, that ballot included a U. S. Senate election (won by Senator Bill Cassidy), but only 47.2% of Shreveporters voted for mayor. Republican turnout was 58.5%, compared to 49.6% among Democrats and 29.8% among other registrants.

Tyler led that primary with 43.7% of the vote, followed by Provenza’s 25.5%, Williams’ 21.7% and the earlier-mentioned 9.1% combined vote for all other candidates.

The run-off election ended in the expected blow-out, a 63.4% vote for Tyler.

As always, following the money matters most.

The first campaign finance reporting period, through September 25, 2014, showed Tyler raising $148,555 in real money, no in-kind contributions included. In subsequent reporting periods through the end of 2014, she raised another $179,505, a total of $328,060.

Runner-up Victoria Provenza scraped together a tiny bit over 20% of Tyler’s total … $70,595.

(Third-place finisher Patrick Williams raised and spent considerably more than Provenza, but took a serious political hit for significant amounts of illegal loans funneled into his campaign.)

In 2015 through 2017, Tyler raised another $38,350, certainly unimpressive and likely traceable to her relative disinterest in running again.

Only time will tell, but there is no solid word thus far which claims Tyler cannot raise the money she will need this time.

Too, Tyler has been aided by the failure of various pre-qualifying attempts to limit the number of so-called “major” challengers in the race.

Even this early, it is difficult to imagine that Tyler’s chances suffer from two additional “major” black candidates in the race, Caddo Commissioner Steven Jackson and neophyte Adrian Perkins, along with the split of the Republican vote between Lee O. Savage and Jim Taliaferro.

(Among Shreveport’s 124,392 registered voters, 54.0% are black, 41.7% white and 4.3% all other races.)

Tyler’s dramatically exposed weakness is rampant crime, but there is doubt any challenger will raise and spend the money necessary to successfully exploit that fact.

© 2018 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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