SADOW: Perkins Regains Ballot, But With Eroded Prospects For Victory

Democrat Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins is back on the ballot, but his victory courtesy of a questionable court decision likely will be Pyrrhic.

The Louisiana Supreme Court narrowly reversed lower court decisions that disqualified Perkins from reelection. He made several errors when attesting to facts required to qualify, most egregiously not having registered to vote at the location where he had filed for a homestead exemption.

No matter, according to the Court’s majority with a remarkably obtuse, even disingenuous, decision that will draw future scrutiny. However, to the case at hand, it obviously impacts the mayoral contest, but more than that the process to get to where things stood a couple of weeks ago has affected negatively his chances.

Essentially, it forced the Perkins campaign to come to a halt. Volunteers had no incentive to pitch in, not knowing whether their efforts would be wasted. Donors also would hesitate, delaying the campaign from deploying some electioneering tactics as well as interfere with strategies, such as not knowing whether to buy media time. And the legal fees, which will run into multiple tens of thousands of dollars, for his defense also sapped resources.

The episode also gives voters a reason not to support Perkins. Somebody who flubbed multiple items on a one-page form doesn’t demonstrate a great deal of competence, which could serve as a metaphor for his entire term.

Whether a significant number of electors make that connection depends upon what other candidates have done in the past couple of weeks while the Perkins campaign basically went on hiatus, and how they address that issue going forward. Campaign finance information won’t for some time reveal whether they did and how disrupted this all was for Perkins, as the Shreveport mayoralty is the highest populated jurisdiction that does not qualify for the “major” office category, so as a “district” office, the next reports won’t come in earlier than the end of September and don’t have to come until Oct. 11. Still, even if opponents did little, they have plenty of time to frame the episode as part of a larger narrative of Perkins incompetence.

Of course, Perkins on the ballot gives him a chance to win that otherwise he wouldn’t have. Yet the whole incident leaves him weaker than if it hadn’t happened. This erodes his fair-to-middling chance at reelection closer to marginal odds.

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