SADOW: Financial Disclosures Show Who’s Who In Shreveport Mayor’s Race

With the filing of campaign finance reports for Shreveport’s mayoral candidates, it becomes clearer which factions have lined up behind what candidates in a contest that has jumbled typical alignments, and who will be competitive.

State Rep. Patrick Williams leads the way with money raised. He has presented himself as an outsider to current Shreveport city government, and even though he is a Democrat was able months ago to secure pledges of support from some prominent Republican activists and officeholders. His donor base matches the eclectic nature of his public endorsements.

On his September submission (which does not actually list him as running for mayor but for reelection, which allows him to charge expenses for that office, repeated on his October one,) are some of the usual suspects, such as nursing home and medical interests, black Democrat activists and officeholders, trial lawyers, unions, and leftist interest groups. But a couple of Republican officeholders appear as well as some GOP activists, and some local newspapermen. Perhaps most notably are remnants of the white Democrat power structure that last controlled city government under the aegis of former Mayor Keith Hightower.

Former Caddo Parish School District Superintendent Ollie Tyler has seemed to have drawn verbal support from allies of the outgoing Mayor Cedric Glover administration, and her submission tends to confirm that backing. Her donors include people representing interests that deal with the city, people active in community affairs that typically have donated to Democrats, and a number of individuals (unsurprisingly) connected to the education field. However, while the names of several black Democrat activists appear, few special interests typically allied with Democrats show up.

City Councilman Sam Jenkins was believed to have represented the Glover faction until he declared he could not commit to a campaign, only to change his mind close to qualifying. As such, he raised little in the way of money, and even adding in his accumulated council total, at under $30,000 available through the first nine months of 2014 he now suffers a tremendous disadvantage relative to Williams and Tyler, both of whom raised around $150,000 in the same period and Williams additionally has loans, mostly from himself, representing about as much again as he raised. In the first half of October he hardly raised any money at all, and spent most on a trip to Houston and on employing canvassers.

Finally, the only major white and non-Democrat candidate in the race, independent Victoria Provenza, also has not raised a large sum of money, the amount being close to what Jenkins had available, although the campaign has emphasized social media interactions. Aside from an elected official and a few frequent givers in the past to more conservative candidates, the list of donors is not replete with the kinds of activists seen forking over to Williams and Tyler, although interestingly the proportion of in-kind donations for campaign activities for her is far higher than any other major candidate’s.

As to what these reports signal, regardless of the degree of eclecticism in Williams’ support, he appears to be attracting traditional and institutional Democrat interests that extends to the statewide level as well. By contrast, Tyler’s support seems more concentrated in Shreveport interests and more connected to current city government. Jenkins does not seem to be making much headway, while Provenza is clearly an outsider that could rally those not affiliated with or are disenchanted by the traditional centers of power for Democrats, which is a substantial base.

Without independent and reliable polling data available to confirm, by these numbers it appears that Jenkins is becoming marginalized, which is to Tyler’s advantage and to the disadvantage of Williams and Provenza, as Jenkins’ political affiliations most closely match those of Tyler. As October progressed it appeared that Tyler’s and Provenza’s chances have increased to make arunoff, while Williams’ chances of making that runoff have decreased. Tuesday, it appears to be any of these three could grab the pair of available Dec. 6 spots.

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