Decision 2015: The end of candidate qualifying

Candidate qualifying for the October 2015 elections has concluded, and while there will be some candidate withdrawals next week, we now have a clearer picture of the 2015 election cycle. Given that the Legislature involves 144 individual House/Senate races, this article will look at a summary level at those races.

Incumbents return: 49 House members (48 incumbents and newcomer Stephen Dwight (R-Westlake)) had no opposition, while 20 Senators (19 incumbents and Rep. Eddie Lambert (R-Prairieville)) were unopposed. In 2011, that figure was 43 House members and 20 Senators. In other words, 63/144 of the legislature was re-elected in 2011, while this year, that figure was a somewhat higher 69/144;

Finishing up in October: an additional nine Senate races and 30 House races have only two candidates running, so we will know who represents those districts on the night of October 24 (i.e., a runoff is unnecessary). That means that a maximum of 26 House races and 10 Senate races are likely to go to a runoff;

Partisan Composition (Senate): Based on those who filed, the Senate will have at least 22 Republicans and 10 Democrats. The Democrats have currently picked up the seat of Elbert Guillory (R-Opelousas), since no Republican filed in that Democratic district.

Partisan Composition (House): Based on those who filed, the House is likely to have at least 45 Republicans, 35 Democrats, and an Independent (Dee Richard of Thibodaux was unopposed). Of the 24 open seats, 14 are Republican held.