BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Legislature won’t have a “Chicken Commander,” but it still could add a “Biscuit” and a “Bones.” The “kissing congressman” won’t make a political comeback as a state lawmaker, but other ex-legislators might be returning to Baton Rouge.
Following Saturday’s election, most of the state House and Senate seats are decided. Majorities in both chambers were decided even before the primary election, when many incumbents didn’t draw competition or their challengers dropped out.
In an email to supporters when he was re-elected without opposition, Rep. Jay Morris, R-Monroe, joked that it could either be “confidence in the job I’ve done or that the people of District 14 are just too smart to want this job.” The state faces deep financial problems and lawmakers expect to spend many months next year in Baton Rouge working through the mess.
In the Nov. 21 runoff election, four of 39 Senate seats and 15 of 105 House seats remain to be settled.
Republicans will stay firmly in control of both chambers, no matter what happens next month. But a few colorful and interesting nicknames could join the Legislature.
Incumbent Rep. Dorothy Sue Hill, D-Dry Creek, is being challenged by Republican Llewellyn Smith, who goes by the name “Biscuit.” One of the candidates in the runoff for a vacant Baton Rouge-based House seat is Ulysses Addison Jr., a Democrat called “Bones.”
Mike “Chicken Commander” Boyter won’t be joining the fold, however. The Democrat lost his bid to oust Rep. Jim Morris, R-Oil City.
Meanwhile, former U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, who lost his congressional seat after a cheating scandal that left him with the nickname the “kissing congressman,” was unsuccessful in his effort to return to Louisiana politics, this time as a state senator. Incumbent Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, easily fended off the challenge, re-elected with 62 percent of Saturday’s vote.
In the end, when the new terms begin in January, the Louisiana Legislature won’t look that much different than it did for the last term.
Though several faced well-financed challengers, no senator who sought re-election was ousted. Three House incumbents failed to win re-election, and five other sitting representatives are awaiting runoff elections to learn their fate.
Defeated were Reps. Nick Lorusso, R-New Orleans; Ebony Woodruff, D-Harvey; and Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro.
Ortego’s loss to Republican Julie Emerson flips the seat to the GOP. Emerson, who won by 247 votes, said in a statement that she and her supporters have “knocked on thousands of doors, made thousands of phone calls and shaken countless hands.”
“Challenging an incumbent is never easy as the margin of victory indicates,” she said.
Republicans in the House also picked up a vacant seat that had belonged to a term-limited Democrat, while Democrats in the Senate reclaimed a seat that had been held by Republican Elbert Guillory of Opelousas, who mounted a failed campaign for lieutenant governor.
House members seeking to move to the Senate had some successes.
Reps. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge; Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro; and Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, won their elections. Meanwhile, Reps. Ledricka Thierry, D-Opelousas, and Dalton Honore, D-Baton Rouge, won’t be moving to the upper chamber.
Three other House members are in a runoff election for Senate seats.
Former legislators seeking to return to the Louisiana Capitol also had mixed results.
Republicans Pete Schneider and John LaBruzzo, former House members, lost Senate elections. Former Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover is returning to his old House seat, and Democrat Robby Carter is in a runoff to decide whether he’ll go back to his former House job.
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