The slow, steady extinction of Southern Democratic officeholders continues:
When state Rep. Jonathan Perry, R-Kaplan, eked out a 688-vote victory Saturday in a hard-fought special election to fill an Acadiana-area state Senate seat, the Louisiana Republican Party completed a political sweep that would have seemed improbable just a few years ago. Perry’s victory over Democrat Nathan Granger gave Republicans a 20-19 majority in the state Senate, marking the first time since Reconstruction that the GOP has had majority control of the upper chamber. In a state where the GOP already holds the Governor’s Mansion, a House majority and all of the constitutional statewide offices, it also means Republicans now control every significant office in state government for the first time in modern history.
Of course, conservatives don’t need to get too excited:
While Perry’s victory gives Republicans fresh bragging rights, lawmakers in both parties said it’s unlikely to have much immediate effect on day-to-day operations of the Senate, where party identification has often mattered little in doling out perks and leadership assignments.
UPDATE: A reader in that neck of the woods adds:
You are 90 percent correct: GOP legislative majorities in Louisiana aren’t a HUGE deal, although there are some clarifications I’d like to add: (1) Populist Democrats have more sway in the Louisiana Senate than in the House (the House Speaker is a Republican, while the Senate President is more in line with populist Democratic sentiment); (2) With redistricting coming up. the psychological impact of GOP majorities will put limits on Democratic mischief-making, especially in the Senate; (3) The Senate has several term limited populist Democrats, but had they kept their majority, they’d have had more partisan cover to draw redistricting plans that preserved their majority for another decade.