Louisiana Republicans unsuccessfully tried to win a two-thirds state House supermajority in Saturday’s runoffs that would allow them to override Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ vetoes. Instead, Team Red ended the night with 68 seats, which is two short of the 70 they needed.
Democrat Mack Cormier unseated GOP incumbent Chris Leopold in a seat in the New Orleans area, which gives Democrats a total of 35 seats in the new legislature. The other two seats are held by independents Joe Marino and Roy Daryl Adams. Republicans won a supermajority last month in the state Senate, but Democrats will still be able to maintain Edwards’ vetoes as long as they can maintain party unity and win the support of at least one of the chamber’s two independents.
There’s reasons to be optimistic that Marino and Adams will vote with Team Blue more than they’ll support the GOP majority: Marino says he voted for Edwards in 2015 and supported his criminal justice reforms, while Adams has an F-rating from the NRA because he supports banning bump stocks. Adams also was a Democrat until he filed to run for office this year, and he says he switched because he wanted to show voters he wouldn’t be beholden to any party. However, Marino does identify as a fiscal conservative while Adams says he opposes abortion, so they may still back the GOP on some issues.
Members of both chambers of the Louisiana legislature serve four-year terms, so the legislature won’t be up again until after new congressional and legislative maps are due following the 2020 Census. However, both parties have very little room for error going into the redistricting cycle, and they’ll want to be ready for any special elections that might arise over the next few years.
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