Louisiana Record

Monday, February 17, 2020

Republican fortunes are looking good in 2020 Louisiana, political science professor says

Campaigns & Elections

By Zeta Cross | Dec 18, 2019

Drgpearsoncrossphoto
Dr. G. Pearson Cross of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette | University of Louisiana at Lafayette

As 2020 approaches, things are looking very positive for Republicans in Louisiana, a political science professor said in a recent interview.

“President (Donald) Trump continues to be popular in Louisiana,” Pearson Cross, political science professor at LSU, told the Record.

“Assuming that the impeachment movement is derailed in the Senate, President Trump should win reelection easily in Louisiana, matching, if not exceeding, his 2016 vote totals,” Cross said.

In 2020 Congressional races in Louisiana, Republicans will continue to dominate, Cross predicted. 

"Republicans should easily hold all five seats in Congress, every district except District 2, which is a minority-majority district represented by Democrat Cedric Richmond,” he said.

In 2020, Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy is up for reelection, and so far, a good sign for Cassidy is that he has no announced Democratic challengers. 

“Cassidy seems set for an easy reelection campaign,” Cross said. “He will most likely exceed his 2014 totals, when he faced prominent Democratic Incumbent Mary Landrieu.” 

Even with the strong support of Trump, Republican Eddie Rispone was not able to knock Democrat John Bel Edwards out of the governor’s mansion in the 2019 election. However, Cross said, Edwards and Democrats will find passing legislation even tougher for Edwards in his second term, he said.

Newly elected Republican state legislators tend to be more staunchly conservative than their predecessors, he said, meaning Edwards' campaign promise to get an increase in the Louisiana minimum wage passed--a move that the Louisiana GOP opposes--will be more difficult.

Edwards faces a supermajority of Republicans in the state Senate. In the House, Republicans are only two votes short of a supermajority. This means that Republicans have enough votes in the Senate and are only two short in the House to override potential vetoes from Edwards. With so many Republicans in the legislature, the state GOP now has the voting power to act on some budget and tax reforms without input from Democrats. 

Looking ahead to 2021, however, Republicans may find a hurdle. 

“The only rough spot for Republicans might be in terms of redistricting,” Cross said.

Once the 2020 Census is completed, the Legislature has the task of redrawing the districts from which state representatives and senators, as well as congressmen and utility regulators, are elected. Out of the gate in 2020, Republicans have vowed to make tort reform legislation a priority. The question is, will pro-trial-lawyer Republicans break ranks with the majority over how to change and streamline Louisiana's legal system? 

People will be watching to see if the pro-trial-lawyer Republicans will stick with the Republican majority or break ranks and wind up compromising with Democrats in the creation of a more Democratic-friendly redistricting plan, Cross said.

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