Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards lost his first trick in a Republican-dominated Louisiana Legislature when his personal choice for Speaker of the Louisiana House was defeated in an unusually contested election.Will it matter? It might. Typically, in Louisiana, the Governor is king so it's worth noting when the Legislature defies him, especially so when the Governor is fresh off a landslide election. On the other hand, it looks like they tried real hard to make this happen so let's hope, for their sakes, they haven't exhausted themselves.
A last minute candidate, New Iberia Rep. Taylor Barras, a former Democrat who turned Republican in 2011, sneaked through the two partisan candidates who had battled for the top legislative job since the election.
Some Republicans want to work with the incoming Edwards administration, particularly as the new Legislature will almost immediately be plunged into trying to fix a state budget that chronically is too short. Others in the GOP are more adamant about Republicans taking the top spots.I've got a feeling, also, this is far from the last and hardly the ugliest fight we'll see during the course of this administration. Remember the boom times are over and Bobby Jindal broke the budget so the coming years will see lots of bitter tugs-of-war over the remnants. Still, I'm cautiously optimistic about this governor's ability to handle it.. as much as anyone can be expected to, anyway.
It was a divisive race in which Republican-leaning groups, such as the Louisiana Family Forum, emailed its members, and various PACS bought advertising and organized recalls to press Republicans who may have been wavering towards Leger to back a GOP candidate.