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.
“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:
The runoff election is Dec. 5.