Rumbles continue from Glover’s Ballotgate

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By JOHN E. SETTLE JR.

Like a nagging cough that just won’t go away, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover and state Sen. Lydia Jackson must continue to deal with the aftershocks of a campaign ballot mailer sent a few days before the Oct. 22 primary election. The mailer targeted African-American voters, and especially senior citizens in the Senate District 39.

The front of the mailer had Glover’s picture with the message “Mayor Cedric B. Glover urges your support of these candidates on October 22.” The back of the large postcard was labeled “Mayor Cedric B. Glover’s Best Ballot.” Candidates with pictures were Lydia Jackson (state senator), Tara Hollis (governor), Jay Dardenne (lieutenant governor), and Jim Tucker (secretary of state). Other recommended candidates were Barbara Norton, Steve Prator, Charles Henington, Doug Dominick, Michael Williams, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ken Epperson, Shante’ Wells and Debra Seamster.

The prominent picture (at the top of the ballot) of state Sen. Jackson with President Barack Obama is considered to have been very influential with the targeted voters. This picture was also featured in a fullpage ad in The Shreveport Sun, which was paid for by the Jackson Campaign.

Louisiana law clearly prohibits political advertising with a photograph of a person which misrepresent the support/endorsement by that person — in this instance, the endorsement of Jackson by President Obama.

Another legal problem with the ballot is the payment of its costs — layout, production and mailing. Louisiana law requires that cost-shared ballots must disclose who paid the costs.

Glover initially stated that all candidates on his ballot shared the cost; he subsequently advised that only five of the 12 candidates paid for the flyers. Several of the listed candidates, including Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator, had no prior knowledge of the ballot — which may also be a violation of Louisiana law.

In addition to complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office and the Louisiana Ethics Commission, criminal complaints have been alleged by unsuccessful candidates Jane Smith and James Robinson — and others may be on the way.

Both Glover and state Sen. Jackson, who is in a runoff with former state Sen. Greg Tarver for the Senate District 39 slot, will have more questions to answer in the upcoming days about the Glover ballot and the Jackson newspaper ad. In a worst-case scenario, the primary election in Caddo Parish could be declared null and possible criminal changes filed against Glover and/or Jackson.

Jackson’s re-election for a third and final term as state senator was on shaky ground before Glover’s “Ballotgate” exploded. The endorsement of Tarver by the thirdplace finisher, Jim Slagle, a white Republican from Vivian, has further weakened her re-election prospects. Being tied to Glover, who is her leading cheerleader, is not a good thing as Glover’s political clout has been diminished in recent weeks.

The mayor’s take-no-prisoners attitude with the city council and other elected officials as come back to bite him in the council’s resounding 5-2 rebuff of his poorly conceived bond proposal for street repairs to be funded by the franchise fee increase.

Both Glover and Jackson have further political aspirations that may be suddenly and surprisingly ended — much like Jane Smith’s defeat by Barrow Peacock. This election promises to be a blood bath even by Louisiana standards, and its outcome will reverberate for many years to come.

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