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Swearing in July 1 of former Louisiana State Police leader as parrish sheriff

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(The Center Square) – Louisiana Democrat Henry Whitehorn will be sworn in July 1, becoming the first Black individual to be Caddo Parrish sheriff.

Whitehorn was favored by 53% of voters and defeated Republican John Nickelson by more than 4,000 votes among more than 65,000 cast on Saturday. That’s a 50.8% increase in voter turnout from Nov. 18, when the winning difference was one vote and led to litigation ending with a do-over election.

The race was contested on a day for the state’s presidential preference and municipal primary elections. The muni winners move on to their respective April 27 general elections.

The Whitehorn-Nickelson race was fraught with fiesty campaigning. They were vying to succeed retiring Sheriff Steve Prator. Jay Long will continue as the interim sheriff the next three-plus months.

A court ruling decided two people voted twice, which is not permissible, and four ineligible also voted the first time around. Whitehorn, formerly colonel of the Louisiana State Police and before that chief in Shreveport, had won by a single vote from 43,247 cast.

An appellate court on Dec. 13 issued a 3-2 ruling agreeing with a judge’s ruling that the difference and improprieties were grounds for a new election. The action is rare, though a Connecticut judge in November tossed a Democratic mayoral primary.

In published reports, Nickelson accepted the defeat and wished Whitehorn well.

There was no drama for the presidential race, where President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have secured enough pledged delegates to earn nominations from the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively. There were 14% of more than 166,000 choosing someone other than Biden, and 10% of more than 192,000 choosing someone other than Trump.