State Legislative Tracker: Louisiana all set for primaries on Saturday

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October 17, 2011

Edited by Greg Janetka

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This week's tracker features a spotlight on the primary election taking place in Louisiana this Saturday.

Sessions

So far this year, 44 out of 50 state legislatures have officially adjourned their regular session. However, several special sessions remain on tap for the rest of the year.[1] This week, no states are scheduled to adjourn their 2011 regular session.

Current sessions capture for the week of October 17, 2011

Regular sessions

The following 6 states remain in regular legislative sessions:

** Wisconsin is in recess until tomorrow, October 18.
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2011 session information.

While most state legislatures are not currently in session, a good number of legislators remain active this fall with redistricting hearings and meetings. Meanwhile, although most states have concluded 2011 business, some states are already seeing 2012 action beginning. Drafting for 2012 has begun in Kentucky and Maine, while prefiling of legislation is going on in Alabama, Florida, Kansas, and Tennessee.[2]

Special sessions

Special sessions have been and are expected to be a widespread occurrence in the state legislatures in 2011, in particular due to the necessity of states to conduct the redistricting of state legislative and congressional districts.

  • The Missouri State Legislature remains in special session to address an economic development plan. The Senate reconvened today to take up changes made to SB 8, a jobs bill, by the House. The Senate is expected to reject the bill and call for a conference with the House. The special session was to adjourn tomorrow, but the House is not scheduled to convene until Thursday, October 20, making the initial date impossible. The session must adjourn by the first week of November at the latest.[3]
  • Maryland began a special session today that is not expected to last longer than seven days. While the main focus is passage of new congressional districts, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said the session will also be used to start work on a jobs package for consideration next year.[4]
  • Utah reconvened its special session today to conduct redistricting[5]
  • Wisconsin's special session on jobs will get under way tomorrow.[6]

So far this year, there have been 31 special sessions in 22 states.

State Legislative Tracker: A glance at state legislatures
Number of special elections this year 85
Number of special sessions this year 31
Number of states that held special sessions this year 22
Number of seats up for general election this year 578

The following states also have special sessions scheduled:

  • South Dakota: To begin on October 24 to conduct redistricting
  • Connecticut: To begin on October 26 to discuss job creation[7]
  • North Dakota: To begin on November 7 to conduct redistricting
  • North Carolina: To begin on November 7.[8]
  • Washington: To begin November 28 to cut $2 billion from the budget[9]

In recess

As of October 17, 18 states' sessions are currently in mid-term recess:

  • Alaska - Mid-term recess April 18 through January 16, 2012[10]
  • California - Mid-term recess September 9 through January 4, 2012.[11]
  • Delaware - July 1, 2011 through January 10, 2012[10]
  • Georgia - Mid-term recess April 15 through January 8, 2012[10]
  • Hawaii - Mid-term recess May 6 through January 7, 2012[10]

  • Illinois - June 23 through October 24, 2011 (est.)[10]
  • Iowa - Mid-term recess June 30 through January 8, 2012[10]
  • Kansas - Mid-term recess June 1 through January 8, 2012[10]
  • Maine - Mid-term recess June 30 through January 3, 2012[10]
  • Minnesota - Mid-term recess May 24 through January 23, 2012[10]

  • Tennessee - Mid-term recess May 22 through January 9, 2012[10]
  • Vermont - Mid-term recess May 7 through January 3, 2012[10]
  • Washington - Mid-term recess April 23 through January 8, 2012[10]

Elections

See also: State legislative elections, 2011
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A total of 578 seats will be up for general election in state legislatures in 2011.

In this year's 2011 election cycle, one legislative primary remains in Louisiana on October 22, 2011. New Jersey held statewide primaries on June 7, 2011, Mississippi held statewide primaries on August 2, and Virginia held primaries on August 23.

Additionally, there are seven states holding special elections on November 8, 2011.

  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsi

Sessions spotlight

The final legislative primary of the 2011 election cycle takes place in Louisiana this Saturday. The 2011 election will be the state's first election under its new legislative maps. Following the 2010 census, the state redrew its legislative boundaries to account for growth and shifts in the state's population. The Louisiana State Legislature was responsible for the redistricting process.

Republicans currently control the Senate by a 5-seat margin and the House by an 11 seat margin. According to a report in Governing Magazine, Republicans could pick up an additional 3-5 seats in the Senate and 10 seats in the House.[12]

The signature filing deadline for candidates in Louisiana was Tuesday, September 8. Because Louisiana uses a blanket primary system, a candidate can be declared the overall winner of the seat by garnering 50 percent +1 of the vote in the primary. However, if no candidate reaches this threshold, then a general election will take place on November 19, 2011.

Senate

See also Louisiana State Senate elections, 2011

All 39 state senate seats are up for election. Under Louisiana's term limits, state senators can serve no more than three 4-year terms in the Senate.

In 2011, 6 current members of the senate, or 15.4% of the total seats, were ineligible to run for the senate again. Of them, 5 are Democratic state senators and 1 is a Republican. They are:

Democrats (5):

Republicans (1):

The current partisan composition of the Louisiana State Senate is as follows:

Louisiana State Senate
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 17 15
     Republican Party 22 24
Total 39 39

Races to watch

On September 12, 2011, Louisiana news organization Bayou Buzz issued a report on the top five Louisiana Senate races to watch. They are as follows:[13]

While Smith has received the support of retiring Senate President Joel Chaisson and was initially considered to be a clear replacement, the report cites Monti as gaining ground because of Smith's status as an insider.
Slagle is cited as having crossover appeal with Jackson's base, which could result in a split vote, allowing Tarver, a former senator, to reclaim his former seat.
Dorsey was reported as not accomplishing much in the legislature, while Jackson raised his profile in the House. Jackson, it notes, would not be a solid Democratic vote, which Dorsey has been.
Although LaFleur is the incumbent, his district has become more Republican. The Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority and the GOP victory fund are expected to play big roles.
The report states that Guillory advocated for a redistricting plan pushed for by the Louisiana Family Forum, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, that would have packed black voters into districts, reducing the number of majority-minority seats. This could potentially backfire, especially since Cravins has been popular while serving as Mayor of Opelousas.

House

See also Louisiana House of Representatives elections, 2011

All 105 state house seats are up for election. Under Louisiana's term limits, state representatives can serve no more than three 4-year terms in the house.

In 2011, 8 current members of the house, or 7.6% of the total seats, were ineligible to run for the house again. Of them, 5 are Democratic state representatives and 3 are Republican.

The 8 current members of the state house who will be ineligible to run in November are:

Democrats (5):

Republicans (3):

The partisan composition of the Louisiana House of Representatives is as follows:

Louisiana House of Representatives
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 46 45
     Republican Party 57 58
     Independent 2 2
Total 105 105

Last year marked the first time in modern history that the Democrats lost control of the House. On November 12, 2010, then-Democrat Walker Hines announced he was switching parties to become a Republican. This gave Republicans 51 seats while Democrats held onto 50 with four Independents.[14] Since that time a number of other party switches gave the Republicans the more comfortable lead they now hold.

Special elections

See also: State legislative special elections, 2011

There are three states holding special elections tomorrow: Georgia (Republican seat), Massachusetts (Democratic seat), and Minnesota (2 Democratic seats).

Georgia House District 43 (Runoff)

Bobby Franklin (R) passed away in late-July 2011.[15] The September 20, 2011 election was a nonpartisan special election. Party affiliation was listed, but all candidates appeared on the same ballot. Since no candidate received a majority of the vote, a runoff election will be held on October 18, 2011.[16]

Democratic Party Democratic Primary Candidates:
  • No Democrats have filed.
Republican Party Republican Primary Candidates:[17]

General election candidates:

Republican Party John Carson
Republican Party Robert Lamutt

Massachusetts House District 3rd Berkshire

Christopher Speranzo (D) resigned on July 13 to accept an appointment as new clerk magistrate of Central Berkshire District Court. A special election to fill his seat was called for October, 18 2011. A special election primary was called for September 20. Candidates had until August 9 to file.[18]

Democratic Party Democratic Candidate:
Republican Party Republican Candidate:
Green Party Green-Rainbow Candidate:
Independent Independent Candidate:

Minnesota Senate District 46

Linda Scheid (D) passed away in June after a battle with cancer. A special election has been called for October 18. A special election primary was held on September 13. Candidates had until August 3 to file.[19][20]

Democratic Party Democratic Candidate:
Republican Party Republican Candidate:
Independent Independence Party Candidate:

Minnesota Senate District 61

Linda Berglin (D) retired after 38 years in the Minnesota Legislature. A special election has been called for October 18. A special election primary was held on September 13. Candidates had until August 3 to file.[21][22]

Democratic Party Democratic Candidate:
Republican Party Republican Candidate:
Independent Independence Party Candidate:
Green Party Green Party Candidate:

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • November 8: Georgia House Districts 10, 25 & Senate District 50
  • November 8: Iowa Senate District 18
  • November 8: Mississippi Senate District 8
  • November 8: Missouri House District 15, 39, 41, 83
  • November 8: Tennessee Senate District 6
  • November 8: Texas House District 14
  • November 8: Wisconsin Assembly District 95

References

  1. StateScape, Session updates, accessed Oct. 17, 2011
  2. StateNet, "Daily Session Summary," October 17, 2011
  3. Ozarks First, "Special Session Stretches On," October 13, 2011
  4. Washington Times, "O’Malley begins special session with push for jobs package," October 17, 2011
  5. Utah Pulse, "Redistricting Fight Moves Back to Legislature Monday Morning," October 17, 2011
  6. The Street, "Wis. Legislature Returning For Jobs Session," October 17, 2011
  7. CBS Connecticut, "Special Session Will Focus on Jobs," September 26, 2011
  8. WRAL "Lawmakers head home after 3-day session," September 15, 2011
  9. Businessweek, "Washington’s Gregoire Calls Special Session to Cut Budget," September 22, 2011
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 10.15 10.16 StateScape, Session schedules, accessed October 17, 2011
  11. The Sacramento Bee, California Democrats, backed by business, roll out last-minute proposal on regulations, Sept. 2, 2011
  12. Governing, "Redistricting’s Impact on State Legislatures in 2012," September 14, 2011
  13. Bayou Buzz, "Vitter, Jindal Ready To Hammer And Louisiana Legislative Races To Watch," September 12, 2011
  14. Times-Picayune, "State Rep. Walker Hines switching to Republican Party, giving GOP House majority," November 12, 2010
  15. Marietta Daily Journal Online, "Cobb Rep. Bobby Franklin found dead in home," July 26, 2011
  16. Secretary of State News, "Secretary Kemp Announces the Close of Qualifying for the Special Election in State House District 43," August 17, 2011
  17. Georgia Secretary of State, District 43, Election Results
  18. The Berkshire Eagle, "3rd Berkshire hopefuls put on game face," August 2, 2011
  19. MPR News, "Veteran lawmaker state Sen. Linda Scheid, 68, dies," June 15, 2011
  20. Hometown Source, "Senate Districts 46 and 61 special elections to be held Oct. 18; candidate filing begins July 2," July 26, 2011
  21. Star Tribune, "Berglin to leave Minnesota Senate," July 25, 2011
  22. Hometown Source, "Senate Districts 46 and 61 special elections to be held Oct. 18; candidate filing begins July 2," July 26, 2011