Nate Keller and Jerod Abshire in runoff for Lake Charles City Marshal

Ward 3 Marshal Runoff Race

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -In Louisiana, several races were decided in last night’s election but there are a handful of races that will head to a runoff.

Nate Keller and Jerod Abshire will face each other in a runoff for Ward 3 (Lake Charles) Marshal. The two were the top vote-getters in a field of six vying to serve in the office currently held by incumbent Vic Salvador.

Democrat Keller was the leader Tuesday night with 43% of the vote. Republican Abshire had 20% of the vote. After the dust settled, Keller edged Abshire by 8,000 votes. Keller had 16,142 votes to Abshire’s 7,708.

RESULTS: Ward 3 City Marshal race
RESULTS: Ward 3 City Marshal race (Source: KPLC)

“It was 1:15 a.m. before all the votes were counted and we were sitting at the home and I’m like wow," said Keller.

Keller has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement. Abshire has 17 years of combined military and law enforcement experience. Qualities that both candidates said gives them an advantage going into the runoff.

“With my military background and law enforcement background, I bring 2 different aspects to the table," Abshire said. "I believe with my background in technology and moving forward to streamline the marshals office...that’s something that does set me apart.”

“By no means am I trying to make the Marshals office another police department or Sheriff’s office," said Keller. "But we should be readily available when something occurs...So when something like Hurricane Laura or Delta happens, we’re readily available.”

Abshire says if elected he also wants to focus on deputy training and expanding technology across the department.

“The Marshals office is often used as a stepping stone to go to another agency. I want to hold them and retain them. I also want to focus on training in cultural diversity. It’s at the forefront, we have to put that forward," Abshire said.

Both feel that the recent storms on top of the pandemic puts them in a position to make what they say will be necessary changes to the Marshal’s office.

“Their lives are in danger just as much as any deputy or state trooper, officer out here. They need training and we need to compound on that," said Abshire.

“The Marshal’s office could be doing so much more," Keller said. "With people coming back losing homes...we have a lot of issues and you have to have a Marshal that will be compassionate to those issues.”

Here’s why both candidates think they’ll make the best Ward 3 Marshal:

With my family being displaced, it allowed me to be apart of everyone else’s issues as well with being displaced. I understood and it brings you back home to the community and what I want to see in the Marshal’s office--community involvement. This is what it’s all about. Law enforcement being involved in the community. We have to understand this is not an easy fix and the rebuilding comes with everybody. I believe in accountability and community-oriented policing. Community policing is not a division, it’s a shared philosophy. Once you show the community that you care and you show them that they have to care just as much, the value goes up. I just believe the Marshal’s Office can be so much more in the community. Active and involved with our seniors and our youth. 1 out of 4 seniors are abused physically or financially, why can’t we educate them. We have to show our youth that law enforcement is not the enemy. Right now, so much is going on with abuse of power, excessive force, lack of communication, lack of diversity training. All issues we need to have open dialogue and conversations about. That’s where I stand. I’ve got over 30 years of law enforcement experience. I believe in bridging the gap between community and law enforcement and all I’m doing now is asking that you allow me to extend that to the Marshal’s office.
Nathan Keller, Ward 3 Marshal Candidate
I’m a lifelong resident of Lake Charles and felt a calling to serve. I joined the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and have served there for 9 years. I’m a digital forensics investigator at the Sheriff’s Office, currently on a leave of absence because I’m running for office. The current Marshall Vic Salvador is an amazing man and has done great things with the Marshal’s office. My goal is to compound on that and bring us into 2020 and beyond. Technology is our greatest asset. I want the Marshal’s office to be a face in this community that everyone knows they can come to. I’ve been there before and I want to show everyone that we’re here for them. One of my key focuses is community resources. This community has so many resources that are untapped. I believe the Marshal’s Office can be a gateway or beacon to the community because we often see people at their worst. Whether that be a repossession or eviction, we can utilize the Marshal’s Office to facilitate resources and educate people. Deputy retention is something that needs to be put to the forefront. Crisis intervention training has to be utilized. I know that we can reunite communities and we can rebuild Southwest Louisiana and I bring those traits to the table.
Jerod Abshire, Ward 3 Marshal Candidate

The runoff election is Dec. 5.

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