SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The already unconventional runoff race for Shreveport mayor took yet another unexpected turn Tuesday with dueling endorsements from high-profile supporters crossing party lines.

Shreveport mayoral hopefuls Tom Arceneaux and Louisiana State Senator Greg Tarver held back-to-back news conferences Tuesday morning to tout endorsements that few could say they would have guessed were coming before the race was narrowed down to two in the November election.

Former Shreveport mayors Ollie Tyler and Louisiana State Representative Cedric Glover joined Mayor Adrian Perkins – all Democrats – gathered at Arceneaux’s campaign headquarters to publicly throw support behind the Republican, while Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards traveled from the state capital to stand by Tarver’s side. While both Edwards and Tarver are Democrats, Edwards is a moderate who won re-election in a deeply conservative state.

If elected, Arceneaux would become just the third Republican to hold the office since Reconstruction, breaking a streak of Black Democratic mayors of the past 16 years over three administrations.

While the theme of both campaign endorsements was unity and inclusiveness, the presentation of those themes was starkly different.

Perkins’ remarks were brief and to the point. He expressed love for the city and said his endorsement was based on which candidate will be the best person to lead Shreveport forward.

“I absolutely love Shreveport, and I am so proud to endorse Tom to be the next mayor of Shreveport because I know he has the same heart for our city,” Perkins said.

Glover talked about the future of Shreveport being more important than choosing political expedience and supporting his party mate, Tarver. He spoke about the candidates that did not make the runoff – Perkins, Dist. 10 Caddo Commissioner member Mario Chavez, who ran for mayor as a “no party” candidate, and Shreveport City Councilwoman LeVette Fuller (D) Dist. B – as being representative of the city’s future, which is facing a millennial generation that is packing up and leaving for metro that prioritizes public safety and technological and professional advancement.

“So the question left to me as someone who cares about the future of this city is, which of these two remaining individuals do I believe can build a Shreveport that gives our city’s youth a reason to stay?” Glover said.

Glover also explained policy differences between both candidates. Most prominent was Tarver’s objection to Governor Edwards’ Justice Re-investment Act.

“Whether our youth are leaving Shreveport via pathways to better opportunities in another state, or the pipeline that leads them to prison, or if they are amongst the hearty and resourceful dwindling few like the third, fourth and fifth finishers in this mayoral race that have decided to stay here and fight for a better future here in Shreveport,” Glover said. “I have determined, like others did of me 12 years ago, that the person best suited to work with these talented, enterprising young people and all of us who are focused on building a better and more potential-filled Shreveport just happens to be a person of a different race or a different party.”

Former Mayor Ollie Tyler, who was unseated in 2018 by Perkins, spoke of Arceneaux’s commitment to service and said that her endorsement is not for a party but for the person that she knows Arceneaux to be.

Not much was said about Tarver as a person, but his supporters were eager to speak of his ability to work with people who may have different ideals to work together toward shared goals.

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Gov. Edwards took the stage at Tarver’s news conference and spoke about investments in the medical corridor and infrastructure that Tarver helped to get through the legislature. He mentioned the wide variety of professionals and political affiliations in the room.

The central piece of the Governor’s endorsement was around recent legislative investments in infrastructure, the growing medical corridor, and the purchase of the Fairfield Building that Tarver supported.

“There’s so much going on in Louisiana in northwest Louisiana and in Shreveport in particular. Things that are very positive. The investments we’re making downtown with a new state office building that we have bought and we are renovating,” Edwards said. “The investments we are making in infrastructure, whether its the Jimmy Davis Bridge or the new bridge, the work on I-20.”

There is no word yet from Fuller or Chavez on whether they will endorse either candidate.

Election day is December 10. Early voting will continue through December 3.