Having already reviewed early candidates for next year’s (assuming they win reelection) Louisiana House of Representatives speaker’s job, mentioned Senate President candidates now are on tap and ready for a review of the morning line of them.
While Republicans’ advantage in the House should grow larger as a result of fall elections, the GOP doesn’t have as much upside from the simple fact that, with an additional majority-black district present as a result of redistricting, there are few seats currently held by white Democrats to pick off. One of these planning on returning, state Sen. Ben Nevers, appears to be a candidate to run the chamber. It also may help him that what essentially gave the GOP its majority of moderate size was plenty of party switches from Democrat to Republican in the last year, so these new Republicans may be amenable to voting for him.
Except that one of the switchers, state Sen. John Alario, also has expressed interest in the top job.Having served previously as Speaker, Alario candidly has admitted he saw which way the winds were blowing and jumped in order to compete for the presidency. He has trended more conservative/reform since entering the Senate (and his Louisiana Legislature Log score for this year was, where 100 denotes the most conservative/reform voting record, a 50 or slightly below both the Republican average and chamber average) so the move on ideological wasn’t totally against type.
Given his past record, his hewing to a moderate line these days, old connections with Democrats and new ones with Republicans, and that, with the right candidate like him, newly-switched Republicans won’t see an appeal to any white Democrat, he makes it tough on either of the other two GOP hopefuls, longtime House members state Sen. Danny Martiny and first-termer state Sen. Jack Donahue, to triumph. Martiny has a moderate record in his government service with a Senate score on the LLL index averaging just over 50, 60 last year, Donahue’s should excite conservatives and reformers the most as he averaged 77 with a score of 63 this past session, much less by his passion for streamlining government.
But, with more Republicans tending to the middle in the Senate than House and Donahue’s current rookie status, it takes some imagination to forecast his winning this battle. Alario probably can position himself better than Martiny to attract a few Democrats which would assure him of a runoff spot against whatever Democrats would throw support to Nevers and Republicans to Donahue. He then ought to defeat whichever of the two survives.
The prospect of an Alario presidency makes those who decry government run by good old boys nervous, but perhaps they must accommodate themselves to that. After all, depending on whom now sitting in the House decides to try and successfully so for the Senate, it could be that over half of its members starting next year will have served a minimum of 12 years in the Legislature. If not good old boys and girls by temperament, they will qualify as such due to such lengthy exposure to Baton Rouge so a choice other than he with likely will have the most experience in elective office (four decades) when the organizational session commences early next year would mildly surprise.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 07:15