Next year’s election cycle figures to be the busiest set of Congressional races in quite some time. First Bill Cassidy gives up his seat to challenge Mary Landrieu, and now Rodney Alexander, the dean of the state’s House delegation, says he’s finished…
In his announcement, Alexander cited the gridlock that exists in the nation’s capitol.
“Rather than producing tangible solutions to better this nation, partisan posturing has created a legislative standstill,” he said. “Unfortunately, I do not foresee this environment to change anytime soon. I have decided not to seek reelection, so that another may put forth ideas on how to break through the gridlock and bring about positive change for our country.”
Alexander has been the congressman from the northeastern part of the state since 2002. He got elected as a Democrat at that point, but switched parties after he qualified for re-election in 2004. As a member of Congress he’s been what some would call the biggest RINO in the state; Freedomworks rates Alexander as a 68, the American Conservative Union has him as a 77.9 and the Club For Growth rates him with a 67. But in recent years there haven’t been too many extremely bad votes on his record – other than the project labor agreement vote he made back in 2011 that set the construction industry afire in the state.
Alexander has been a member of the House Appropriations Committee pretty much his whole Congressional career, but recently he’s sounded alarms about runaway spending and the Obama administration’s blase’ approach to the economy.
Who will replace him? That’s going to be an interesting question.
The most likely candidate is state sen. Neil Riser (R-Columbia), who is extremely popular up that way and has the ability to both self-fund and raise a good deal of cash in a fairly tough area to find large donors in. Riser is considerably more conservative than Alexander; LABI has a lifetime score of 89 for him, including a 97 this year.
The district is known as a conservative one, but it’s 33 percent black. There will certainly be a black candidate in the race; state sen. Rick Gallot’s name has been bandied about as a possibility, and state Rep. Katrina Jackson is seen as at least an eventual candidate for the seat.
One name sure to be thrown around comes from the southern tail of the district – Elbert Guillory. While Riser is probably the odds-on favorite in the district Guillory might be an interesting challenger given that he was a Democrat until this year and is, in fact, black. Guillory’s recent rock-star status could be a factor in ramping up a campaign as well. But all indicators point to his holding his fire for the Lt. Governor’s race in 2015 unless something changes.
On the whole, though, this is a development which would portend a more conservative vote out of Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District after the 2014 elections, with a tradeoff of a loss of seniority and the state potentially not having a seat on the House Appropriations Committee.