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Caddo Parish Sheriff runoff is one of several key races in Louisiana

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(The Center Square) – On Saturday, Louisiana voters will cast ballots in the presidential primary and for local offices.

One local race will be watched statewide, as Caddo Parish will select its next sheriff in a runoff between Democrat Henry Whitehorn and Republican John Nickelson.

Whitehorn won the first election by a single vote out of 43,000 ballots cast in November.

A recount didn’t change the result, but issues with some ballots cast were revealed by Nickelson in a lawsuit challenging the election result, which convinced a judge to order a new election.

An appellate court upheld that ruling and the state Supreme Court declined to review the case, sending the race to a runoff.

Nickelson, an attorney and a former Shreveport city councilman, has accused Whitehorn of being soft on crime. He has been endorsed by former Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator, who retired and was appointed by Gov. Jeff Landry to the state’s Board of Pardons.

“John Nickelson is tough on crime and endorsed by retired Sheriff Steve Prator and the Fraternal Order of Police,” Nickelson said in a Facebook post on his campaign page. “Henry Whitehorn, (former Shreveport mayor) Adrian Perkins’ former CAO (chief administrative officer) and right-hand man, has dangerous and radical ideas that would hurt Caddo Parish and make us all less safe.

“Listen for yourself to his campaign manager talk about Whitehorn’s plan to ‘solve the overcrowding problem’ at our local jail by Labor Day. That would mean releasing hundreds of prisoners in just two months.”

In a post on his campaign’s Facebook page, the former Shreveport police chief called out Nickelson for what he called lies about his plans for the office.

“Henry Whitehorn is committed to being tough on crime yet fair!” Whitehorn said. “Don’t be fooled by lies that Whitehorn will let hundreds of prisoners out of jail. John Nickelson has zero law enforcement experience, but he does have 20 years of legal experience and knows the sheriff has no authority to just let people out of jail. Nickelson has no experience and no plans, but he has plenty of lies!”

Statewide, Louisiana voters will cast ballots in a presidential primary that has already been decided after both President Joe Biden on the Democratic side and former President Donald Trump on the Republican side earned enough pledged delegates to win their nominations. Those won’t be official until their respective party conventions this summer.

Trump has 1,639 delegates, clear of the 1,215 needed to secure the GOP nomination. The former president could earn 47 delegates if he wins in Louisiana.

Biden has 2,491 delegates, far ahead of the 1,968 needed to secure the bid. He could add 48 more to his count.