Search This Blog


Trending? Another GOP LA representative leaves

When Republican former state Rep. Chris Broadwater told the world he had quit his post to spend more time with his family, no doubt he meant it. But he also joined some lawmakers recently departed who may have lost their enthusiasm as they struggled with marginalized places in the House of Representatives.

Broadwater became the fifth ally of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to jump ship prior to the end of his term since the inauguration. The group includes former state Reps. Bryan Adams and Joe Lopinto, both Republicans even through that party controls the chamber, and Democrats Jack Montoucet and Ed Price.

In the 2016 organizational session of the House, Adams and Lopinto crossed party lines, voting for Democrat state Rep. Walter Leger to be Speaker. Other Republicans still in the body who did so include state Reps. Bubba Chaney, Chris Hazel, Rogers Pope, and Rob Shadoin.

Broadwater stuck with GOP Speaker Taylor Barras, but this summer joined Chaney, Pope, and Shadoin in backing Leger’s budget amendment that put more of Edwards’ preferences in the budget than Barras’. Republicans also signing on to that effort were state Reps. Patrick Connick, Johnny Guinn, Kenny Havard, Tanner Magee, Joe Stagni, and Julie Stokes.

Other Republicans not considered friendly to Edwards have left. Former state Rep. Tom Willmott stepped down to take an elective seat in local government while Rep. Mike Johnson earned a promotion to Congress. However, both unlikely would have left had they lost their contests. Notably, the others exited for other non-elective positions except for Price who gained a special election win for the Senate, although Lopinto currently is running for Jefferson Parish sheriff.

Broadwater apparently doesn’t have anything relevant to government lined up, so he must think that a lot of fun has gone out, or looks like it will go out, of serving in the House compared to his other passions in life. He, like Adams, wasn’t term limited, so his choice didn’t necessarily mean he sought a way to continue in government after 2019.

But, as in the other cases, it may have to do with a perceived loss of influence in the body. Barras, aided by GOP state Rep. Cameron Henry, not only have opposed adamantly the expansion of state government but also keep trying to roll back its power and spending where possible. If you’re a fan of big government who sees gridlock as an impediment rather than as tool to keep government from becoming oversized, you won’t fare well in that environment.

Not that Edwards has done that badly concerning these early exits. Willmott, not an ally, was replaced by Stagni. No party state Rep. Joseph Marino replaced Adams, who promptly voted for Leger’s amendment. But GOP state Rep. Polly Thomas succeeded Lopinto, and Montoucet’s seat flipped when state Rep. John Stefanski took that; neither have shown any inclination to support Edwards’ agenda. Price’s solidly Democrat district produced state Rep. Ken Brass, who gives every sign of backing Edwards.

So, it’s up in the air as to the friendliness to Edwards of Broadwater’s replacement, although he comes from the same neck of the woods that has perhaps the strongest populist sentiments left among white voters in the state. And at least two other term-limited House members look to run for other government posts, so he won’t be the last to take off before 2019 elections. But as he left without term limits pressure and had given Edwards some support, it’s unknown whether that will become a trend for other similarly-situated representatives.

No comments: