With Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, term-limited, along with 41 percent of the entire chamber — 16 out of 39 seats — the Senate looks to be a real area of opportunity for the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, the independent expenditure group begun by Sen. David Vitter and now chaired by state Attorney General Jeff Landry. Through his raw legislative skill sets and healthy doses of tradition and institutional knowledge, Alario has enjoyed a tight grip over the Senate. When it loosens at the end of this term, Republicans hope a different voting pattern will emerge.
But there’s no guarantee that happens with the current membership. That will likely lead to LCRM endeavoring to flip a few Senate seats from incumbent Republican to ultra-Republican next cycle. It also means LCRM will have to keep its sights set on the Senate president’s election in 2020.
Gov. Edwards has already said he plans to run for re-election and speculation about AG Landry opposing him on the ballot has reached a fevered pitch. If that’s the matchup, legislative leadership positions may actually become an issue in that top race in 2019.
In the House, 38 out of 105 seats will be open due to term limits, or 36 percent of the chamber. The overall goal there may be to at least maintain the current 59-42 majority — there are also two independents — and to build on it where possible. But much like the Senate, the big gavel is what’s really in play. Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, who Edwards did not want to see elected by the House, is term limited.