Today is Election Day in Louisiana, and polls will close at 8 pm Central Time. Voters will be electing all statewide offices (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, and Commissioner of Insurance), as well as all 144 seats in the state legislature. There are also elections for regional positions on the state’s education board (the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE), parish administrative positions (such as sheriff and court clerk), and four proposed constitutional amendments. In short, there’s a lot to vote on.
If you want more information about any of those specific races, I highly recommend all of the great work down by the folks at Ballotpedia. Their summary page about all of today’s elections in Louisiana is here. If you just want a quick analysis of the downballot races for statewide office, Nathaniel Rakich did a nice summary last month on his blog, Baseballot.
Earlier this week, I noted that partisan control of the Louisiana State Senate has already been determined – Republicans will retain control. (You can read that post here.) The current make-up of that chamber is 26 Republicans and 13 Democrats, and it doesn’t appear that today’s voting will change that by more than a few seats. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t interesting contests. Here are the 3 Louisiana State Senate incumbents I’ll be watching closely tonight when results come in:
SD #20 – Norby Chabert is finishing his first full term in this district along the south-central coast. He won a special election for this seat in 2009 as a Democrat, and switched to the Republican party in 2011 before winning re-election later that year. Oil and gas businessman Mike Fesi has essentially self-funded his campaign and spent over twice as much as the incumbent. With Sen. Chabert term-limited in 2019, Mr. Fesi could also be establishing himself as his likely successor next time.
SD #13 – Dale Erdey is running for a third term in this strongly-Republican area in the eastern suburbs of Baton Rouge. He faces Derek Babcock in a rematch of the 2011 race, which Sen. Erdey won, 65% to 35%. Through early October, Mr. Babcock had outspent the incumbent by a three-to-one margin, and the campaign commercials and attacks have been vicious and personal. Mr. Babcock has been claiming that Sen. Erdey is too liberal, and given how conservative this area is, that could work.
SD #16 – Sen. Dan Claitor is running for a second full term in this district, which is also in the Baton Rouge area. He, like Sen. Chabert in SD #20, initially won election to his seat in a special election in 2009, meaning he is also term-limited in 2019. Sen. Claitor has experience in winning races despite being outspent – in his 2009 special election, he defeated fellow Republican Lee Domingue despite being outspent almost three-to-one. Sen. Claitor was unopposed in 2011, and made an unsuccessful run for the Congress last year. He faces banking executive M. Scott McKnight in this primary, who has outraised and outspent him so far.