Alford: Qualifying kicks off strong legislative cycle

    Lobbyists, candidates, incumbents and consultants have been on pins and needles this week. They’re ready for qualifying to come and go, for the sign-up process for elections brings with it some certainty, writes Jeremy Alford in his latest column. 

    Qualifying this year runs from Tuesday, Aug. 6, to Thursday, Aug. 8. For this past few years, this brief snapshot of time has been highly anticipated and regarded as a turning point for the next term of state government. (For a running tally of who’s qualifying for Louisiana, East Baton Rouge Parish and Baton Rouge area legislative races, click here.)

    Many of the incumbents may have nothing to worry about. For the most part, legislative diehards have been focusing on the impact that term-limited lawmakers will have, with their replacements coming on in 2020. 

    That’s why lobbyists and reporters have been focusing largely on one statistic: 40%. That’s roughly the number of seats that will turn over this cycle due to term limits.

    But there’s another figure worth keeping in mind as we approach qualifying: 44% That’s the percentage of seats in both the House and Senate that appear to be unopposed based on LaPolitic’s own tracking process and the spreadsheets maintained by a number of associations and legislative players.

    That amounts to 64 seats out of 144 in the Louisiana Legislature, including seven races hosting a sole candidate who would become a true freshman next term. Fair warning: this isn’t a science. If you would prefer to wait for the actual count, it will become available when qualifying closes Thursday, Aug. 8.

    This trend is more significant in the Senate, where 19 members appear unopposed for now, including three possible freshman, all from the House (Reps. Pat Connick in Senate District 8, Cameron Henry in SD9 and Kirk Talbot in SD10). If those lineups stick, 48% of the Senate will be returning in 2020.

    The numbers get heavier in the House, where there appears to be 45 seats unopposed, including four races with freshman-wannabes. 

    In Baton Rouge there are six state senators, 12 state representatives, one sheriff, one clerk of court, one assessor and  one coroner up for election this fall. See a list of all of the open positions and who is running so far here. Daily Report will update with candidates who have qualified in the PM edition.

    Read Alford’s full column about the qualifying and legislative turnover.  

    Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com

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