With the general election quickly approaching, the Democratic Party in Louisiana is campaigning hard to prevent the State House of Representatives from reaching a Republican super-majority.
Republicans already reached a super-majority in the State Senate during the primary election last October, but need to hold 70 seats to reach a super-majority in the House, which the Party is currently only seven seats shy of and hoping to attain in upcoming runoff elections.
“If the Republicans have a supermajority in both houses that means that, in effect, the Republican Party will be the Governor of this state,” Political expert and professor at the Manship School of Mass Communication, Robert Mann told the Manship Writing Service.
A super-majority in both chambers of the Legislature would give the Republican Party the ability to pass bills and to override vetoes by the Governor in the event Republican legislators vote together, according to Mann.
Non-Republican candidates in seven Trump-held districts are fighting to prevent this outcome.
House District 70, located in Baton Rouge, is among the crucial districts for the Democrats to flip, and appears to be the district where the Democratic Party is running the hardest. The District was Trump’s worst-performing district of the districts that he carried in the state.
District 70 Democratic candidate Belinda Davis has raised $81,210 and received the largest financial backing from the Democratic party, according to financial reports available on the Secretary of State website.
The House Democratic Campaign Committee has donated $20,000 to Davis’s campaign and nearly $40,000 in in-kind donations, $30,000 of which was donated for a media buy.
Davis feels it is not only important to emphasize the issues that she is running on prior to the primary election, but also emphasize the importance of preventing a super-majority in the House.
“Its two-fold. My district really cares about infrastructure and they want us to deal with it, but at the same time, we can only deal with it if I stop that Republican supermajority from happening,” Davis said.
However, Davis’s Republican opponent, Barbara Freiberg feels that there is no need to change her message, as voters, as well as legislatures, should be more focussed on policy than party.
“We’ve stayed focused on who I am and what I’m running for. The noise supermajority and the noise coming from the Democrats— I’m staying focused on my campaign,” Freiberg said. “I think we need to worry, number one, about policy and not party. I think we need to come together. I think we need to do what’s best for this state.”
District 70 is split nearly evenly between registered Republicans and Democrats with a considerable percentage of registered Independents. Davis aims to target the areas of the district that she performed well in during the primary election and drive voter turnout in these areas.
“I think the trick for me in winning this would be to appeal to the Independent voters in my district, while at the same time keeping my base of Democratic Party support,” Davis added.
District 70 is an open seat making it a more realistic goal for Democrats, as incumbency traditionally poses a much larger feat to opponents. Of the 84 incumbents that have sought re-election during this election cycle, just two have lost.
The House Democratic Campaign Committee also made contributions to Independent incumbent Roy Adams of District 62 and Democrat Tammy Savoie of District 94 who have raised $15,300 and $58,675, respectively.
Savoie opposes Republican incumbent Stephanie Hilferty in District 94, located in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes.
According to Savoie, her message has stayed the same throughout this campaign cycle and has only grown more important in the midst of a potential super-majority.
“We really have stuck with our campaign strategy– I mean the goal all along was to win. It hasn’t changed just because they might get a super-majority,” Savoie said. “Our goal is still to emphasize the importance of the win. That becomes more prevalent, more salient, because the Republicans could gain a supermajority.”
Davis, Savoie and Adams have raised more than their Republican opponents; however, this trend has not been mimicked in the other districts where non-Republicans are contesting Republicans. In Districts 50, 68, 71 and 105, Democrats have fallen behind Republicans, in terms of fundraising.