The Power of One Vote on Display in Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Race
Many analysts and observers alike call this one-vote scenario a textbook example of why every vote counts. The shortened holiday work week pushed a recount to Monday, November 27.
Days after Saturday’s [November 18] runoff election – the talk is all about that one single vote separating the two candidates to be the next sheriff in Caddo Parish. Right now, it is democrat henry Whitehorn who holds the slimmest of leads against Republican John Nickelson in a vote of 21,621 to 21,620, totaling more 43,000 in all. Many analysts and observers alike call this one vote scenario a textbook example of why every vote counts. The shortened holiday work week pushed a recount to Monday, November 27.
Louisiana State University Shreveport (LSUS) Political Science Professor Jeffrey Sadow says the odds of keeping the exact same election results are very low “because normally when you do a recount there are some changes. It may be only a few votes. But yeah, in a race this size I seriously doubt it’s going to stay exactly where it is now,” as Sadow surmised, “so, it may not end up being one vote. But it’s going to end up being close. It’s quite something.”
Professor Sadow says in the October General election it was Nickelson who had the higher total with 45% of the vote, compared to Whitehorn’s 35%. After looking over turnout numbers on the precinct level in Saturday’s runoff election, Sadow says more Whitehorn supporters came out to vote, while the overall number of people who voted went down. Sadow credits those factors for Whitehorn’s success.
And whoever ends up winning this razor-thin contest, Sadow says once in office it’s a lot easier to stay in office. It’s all about the power of incumbency. “You know, he [the winner] could be there for a while. Because once you’ve had a term under your belt and, you know, nothing really controversial happens, you know, no scandals or anything like that then usually you’re going to win some people over that didn’t vote for you the first time.”
And the numbers bear out Sadow’s analysis. Over the last 50 years, more than 80 percent of Incumbents have consistently won re-election.
The reasons: Incumbents seeking re-election have greater name recognition than their challenger… and greater access to campaign funds through sponsors and donors. The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s position only became an open seat with the retirement of long-time sheriff Steve Prator, after 24 years, or 6 terms, in office. Prator’s term ends on June 30.