As I continue with my analysis of the Louisiana State Senate elections being held today, here are the 4 Louisiana State Senate races I think are most likely to require a runoff:
SD #7 – Sen. David Heitmeier was eligible to run for a third term in this New Orleans-area district, but he chose to retire from the State Senate and return to his optometry practice. Four Democrats are running to replace him, and they all seem to be running active and engaged campaigns. It is extremely difficult for one candidate to get more than 50% of the vote in any four-person field, so this race easily makes the top of this list. Three of the four also have experience running for office: Jeff Arnold is the current three-term state Representative, Troy Carter is both a former State Representative and former member of the New Orleans City Council, and Leslie Ellison is a member of the New Orleans School Board. By the way, I’d be very surprised if Rep. Arnold isn’t one of the two candidates in the runoff.
SD $38 – Three-term Sen. Sherri Smith Buffington could not run for re-election in this district in the Shreveport area in the northwestern part of the state. This is another four-candidate field, although one Democrat significantly trails the other three candidates in fund-raising. Given that former Sen. Mary Landrieu got almost 45% of the vote here when she ran for re-election last year, this district should be somewhat competitive. So there should be enough Democratic votes to put attorney and former Congressional candidate John Milkovich into the runoff with either of the two Republicans, current State Rep. Richie Burford or Assistant District Attorney Cloyce Clark. I’ll predict the runoff is between Mr. Milkovich and Rep. Burford, which could be a very entertaining contest.
SD #12 – Democratic Sen. Ben Nevers is term-limited and can’t run for re-election in this district northeast of New Orleans, which is bad news for Dems trying to hold a seat which only gave Sen. Landrieu 38% of the vote last year. However, there are probably enough Democratic voters to put businessman and educator Mickey Murphy in the runoff against one of the two Republicans. Since Beth Mizell came within 350 votes of unseating Sen. Nevers in 2011, I think she has to be considered the favorite.
SD #36 – Like the two races above, this is another classic example of a GOP district with a single strong Democratic candidate facing two Republicans. Sen. Robert Adley (R) is term-limited, and State Representative Henry Burns is battling for the GOP votes against attorney Ryan Gatti, who has self-funded over two-thirds of his campaign. What makes this Shreveport-area district different is how strongly Republican it is, meaning that Democrat Todd Hollenshead may only get enough votes to deny Rep. Burns or Mr. Gatti from getting a majority, while not actually making it to the runoff himself. However, a November runoff between these two Republicans would be very interesting indeed.
[Thanks goes out to the folks at Daily Kos Elections, for their invaluable resource, “Statewide election results by congressional and legislative districts” for the vote percentages from the 2014 U.S. Senate race.]