Randy Brown, Bossier Press-Tribune
The results are in. The election is over. And, it was a surprising Saturday night in Bossier City politics as longtime Bossier City resident and businessman Tommy Chandler unseated four term mayor Lo Walker in the Bossier City mayoral race. With 82 of 82 precincts reporting, the results are final and Tommy Chandler is the newly elected mayor of Bossier City. Chandler received 56% of the vote (4,623 votes) while incumbent Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker received 44% of the vote (3,603 votes). Unofficial voter turnout in the mayoral race was low at 23.1%.
The Bossier Press-Tribune attended Chandler’s election night “campaign watch” event which was held at Shane’s Seafood and Bar-B-Q in Bossier City. Once the election returns were final, Chandler made some brief comments to those gathered in the room. He began by thanking his family, his campaign manager, his supporters and his friends. He stated that at the beginning of the year, no one gave him much of a chance in this race. As Chandler continued, he said “we worked really hard and tonight, we did it.” He concluded his comments by thanking Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker for all of his years of dedicated service to the City of Bossier City and for his 16 years as Bossier City mayor.
The Bossier Press-Tribune caught up with Mayor-Elect Chandler after he concluded his public comments where he made the following comments: “We did it. We worked really hard. We never quit working hard and we took nothing for granted. They had me out working hard and campaigning beside the roadway until 3:30 p.m. this afternoon on election day. Again, we never quit working hard and we did it, we won. I look forward to getting started and continuing what we have begun.”
Current Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker has served four terms as the mayor of Bossier City which matches the length of service achieved by his predecessor George Dement, who became mayor in 1989 and left office in 2005, after serving 16 years as Bossier City mayor. In his overall service to the City of Bossier City, Walker served one year as Executive Director of the Bossier Civic Center, 16 years as Chief Administrative Officer during the Dement administration and will have served 16 years as mayor when his fourth term soon comes to an end.
Mayor Walker’s election night “campaign watch” event was held at Silver Star Smokehouse in Bossier City. Bossier Press-Tribune Managing Editor Stacey Tinsley caught up with Mayor Walker at the event where he made the following comments: “What I would like to say to the Bossier community is the system works, the voters have made their choice, and that’s the way it is supposed to work. I congratulate Mr. Chandler on a successful campaign and I’ll make certain that I do everything feasible to make a smooth transition as he comes in and assumes the Chief Executive Officer position for the city.”
When asked what he would like to say to his family, Mayor Walker said: “My wife will probably be glad to see me around the house to take care of a few “honey do’s” that need to be done.” When asked what he is going to miss about being in office, Mayor Walker said: “I just really enjoy being in public service. I enjoyed seeing what we’ve been able to accomplish over the years. Some people like to hunt and fish, but I just enjoy public service. It’s in my DNA. I will miss not having to work at that level to continue the progress for the city. But, the voters have spoken and that’s how the system works.”
In other local races, the two candidates who received the most votes for the two Bossier City Councilman at Large seats were incumbent David Montgomery, Jr. (36% – 3,745 votes) and Chris Smith (25% – 2,993 votes). Incumbent Timothy Larkin received 24% of the vote (2,879 votes) and Lee A. “Gunny” Jeter, Sr. received 19% of the vote (2,211 votes). Unofficial voter turnout in this race was 16.6%.
The other Bossier City Council seats decided in Saturday’s election were for Districts 1 and 5. In the District 1 race, Bossier Parish School Board member Shane Cheatham received 65% of the vote (1,688 votes) compared to incumbent Scott Irwin’s 35% of the vote (910 votes). Unofficial voter turnout in this race was 28.2%. In the District 5 race, Vince Maggio received 82% of the vote (1,732 votes) compared to Marsha McAllister’s 18% of the vote (378 votes). Unofficial voter turnout in this race was 29.2%.
Parishwide, the only item on the ballot in Bossier Parish was the District 4 seat on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). In Bossier Parish, Shreveport attorney Michael Melerine received 36% of the vote (4,094 votes), Winnfield businesswoman Shelly McFarland received 24% of the vote (2,749 votes), “Cassie” Williams received 22% of the vote (2,472 votes), Shreveport attorney and former State Senator John Milkovich received 16% of the vote (1,815 votes) and Cody Whitaker received 3% of the vote (331 votes). In Bossier Parish, unofficial voter turnout for this race was 14.8%.
And, the results for the entire BESE District 4 region were: “Cassie” Williams with 29% of the vote (10,764 votes), Michael Melerine with 28% of the vote (10,359 votes), Shelly McFarland with 22% of the vote (8,250 votes), John Milkovich with 16% of the vote (5,843 votes) and Cody Whitaker with 4% of the vote (1,552 votes). Regionally, unofficial voter turnout for this race was 9.7%.
Bossier City Mayor -Elect Tommy Chandler poses with his family for a campaign victory celebration photo during his “election watch” event at Shane’s Seafood and Bar-B-Q in Bossier City.
Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker talks to KTBS TV reporter Jeff Beimfohr during his “election watch” event at Silver Star Smokehouse in Bossier City.