Louisiana sheriff candidate wins do-over after disputed 1-vote victory was tossed

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Months after his disputed one-vote victory in a Louisiana sheriff’s race was tossed by a court, a career law enforcement officer was decisively elected on his second try Saturday.

Democratic candidate Henry Whitehorn got 53% of the vote in Saturday’s election in northwest Louisiana’s Caddo Parish. He’ll be the parish’s first Black sheriff.

Returns from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office show Whitehorn defeated Republican John Nickelson — this time by more than 4,000 votes.

Turnout was considerably higher in the second race. State figures show 65,239 people voted in Saturday’s sheriff’s race — up from 43,247 in November.

Whitehorn is a former head of the Louisiana State Police and former Shreveport police chief. He won by a single vote in November but courts ordered a new election after finding evidence that two people illegally voted twice and four others voted despite being ineligible.

Whitehorn had come out of retirement to run for sheriff after longtime Sheriff Steve Prator announced his retirement.

“I’m troubled by the violent crime that’s plaguing our community. I had retired and I could have just sat on the sidelines, if I chose to, and watched. But I’ve been called to serve. I couldn’t just sit and watch this community suffer,” Whitehorn told The Shreveport-Bossier City Advocate.

Nickelson conceded Saturday night as Whitehorn's victory became apparent. “I called Mr. Whitehorn and congratulated him and wished him and the sheriff’s office well," Nickelson said. "I want the very best for this community, which has been such a good home for me and my family for generations. And I wish him every success because his success will be Caddo Parish’s success.”

Whitehorn will be sworn in on July 1, replacing interim Sheriff Jay Long who took over from Prator on March 1.