SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – After an unconventional race that took some unexpected turns, former Shreveport City Councilman Tom Arceneaux defeated Louisiana State Senator Gregory Tarver in the race for Mayor of Shreveport.
Arceneaux becomes only the third Republican mayor in Shreveport’s history since Reconstruction.
“This is not about me. This is about the people of Shreveport,” Arceneaux told supporters in his victory speech. “We have tonight looked beyond historical barriers and distinctions…We have a new future in the city of Shreveport, and it will look different than it has looked in the past,” Arceneaux told a cheering crowd. “It means that everyone has a seat at the table. It means that we build consensus, and it means that we will move forward together.”
“This was not about winning an election. It never has been about winning an election. Winning is the first step that we have to take to get on with the work of making our city the great city that it can be. Because we can build a common future, a future that all of us can enjoy and appreciate and we can have a city that all of us that we can be proud to say, ‘I love Shreveport.'”
The final margin was decisive, with Arceneaux bringing in more than 56 percent of the vote to Tarver’s 44 percent.
Tarver said he knew how the race would play out when he conceded around 9:30 p.m. before the results were final.
“I realize how it’s going to come out at the end. But I want to thank you all because you’re the reason why I’m in this race. Thank you very, very much from the bottom of my heart.”
Voters also decided three Shreveport City Council races and two seats on the Caddo Parish School Board in Saturday’s election.
Democrat Gary Brooks won the hotly contested District B race after what appeared to be a three-way tie between Brooks, Mavice Thigpen, and James Carstensen led to a lawsuit filed by Carstensen in hopes of getting the votes recounted. A Caddo Parish judge dismissed Carstensen’s claim, leaving Thigpen and Brooks to battle it out at the ballot box. Brooks came out on top Saturday with 57 percent of the vote to Thigpen’s 43 percent.
Democrat Alan Jackson kept his District E seat, besting Republican Tony Nations with 53 percent of the vote, and Democrat Ursula Bowman won the District G seat with 56 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Derrick Henderson. She will take over the seat from her husband, who did not seek re-election. It is the same seat her late mother-in-law Joyce Bowman held for years.
Caddo Parish School Board seats in Districts 7 and 12 are also up for grabs as incumbents Darren Dixon and Dottie Bell could not get 50% of voters to select them to return to the board. But Bell came out on top Saturday to keep her Dist. 12 seat for one more term, beating Joy Sims handily with 68 percent of the vote to Sims’s 31 percent.
Barbara Smith-Iverson unseated Dixon in Dist. 7, however, with 50.78% of the vote to Dixon’s 49.22 percent.