It’s no secret the Louisiana Legislature has undergone significant changes over the past few election cycles, and that both the House and Senate have been in a constant state of transition, writes Jeremy Alford in his latest column.
If you’re eager to get an early preview of what the next Legislature will look like—its composition, temperament and leanings—look no further than last week’s legislator qualifying period. The number of signups, their party affiliations and historic qualifying trends offer us a crystal ball.
On the surface, it may seem as if qualifying cleared the way for more of the same. There were 48 members of the Legislature elected without opposition following the 2019 qualifying period, including 37 in the House and 11 in the Senate.
But don’t forget there are 144 members of the Legislature. Due to the two-candidate fields yielded by the qualifying process, there are at least 11 races in the Senate and 30 in the House that will be concluded following October’s primary balloting. There are another 55 House and Senate races that could go the distance to December runoffs, due to there being three or more candidates in each.
The most notable trends, however, jump right off of the page. Of the white Democrats running for office, 40% are women, primarily recruited through campaigns like one launched by Emerge Louisiana (27 men and 18 women).
Overall, however, the drop-off is dramatic, with 232 fewer white Democrats running this cycle than in 1987, and so far, only three white Democrats have been elected without opposition, including Sen. Gary Smith (SD19), Rep.-elect Francis Thompson (HD19) and Rep. Chad Brown (HD60).
Read Alford’s full column for more clues about the future Legislature.