WASHINGTON — The year 2020 is already shaping up to be a big one politically, with a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case, Congressional races, a presidential and U.S. Senate race and a brand new State Legislature to be sworn in.
That follows 2019's blistering gubernatorial race, battles on Capitol Hill and the Legislature's continued skirmishes with Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Here are the stories to watch heading into the new year.
Landmark abortion case goes before Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to take up on March 4 a Louisiana law that would require abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
The high court previously struck down a similar Texas law, but the make-up on the bench has changed significantly since President Donald Trump appointed two conservative justices.
The case is seen as the first major test of abortion rights under the new court, and it's expected to draw intense interest from around the country. Already more than two dozen briefs have been filed from outside interest groups, arguing for and against the 2014 law, which has never taken affect as it was challenged through the court system.
Legislature shifts to the right for coming term
A new class of Louisiana lawmakers will be sworn into office on Jan. 13 at the State Capitol — and it's even redder than the outgoing Legislature that often battled with Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, over the past four years.
The House, where Edwards faced the most resistance during his first term, is just two seats short of having a Republican two-thirds supermajority needed to override Edwards’ vetoes. Senate Republicans have secured supermajority status, and Edwards’ closest allies have largely left the chamber because of term limits.
Edwards has continued to push for an increase to the state’s minimum wage and equal pay legislation, issues he campaigned on four years ago, without success. The heavier conservative, pro-business tilt creates an even bigger hurdle for those priorities.
Republicans have set their sights on “tort reform,” or new restrictions on civil lawsuits. They also want to lower taxes, though no formal tax reform plan has been unveiled.
Edwards, who came into office with a budget shortfall that prompted an increase in the state sales tax to prevent deep cuts to education and health care, has opposed both.
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy faces his first re-election bid
After unseating Democratic three-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of New Orleans in 2014, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, faces his first re-election campaign this fall.
Cassidy, a medical doctor who previously spent six years in the U.S. House before overwhelmingly defeating Landrieu, has focused mostly on health care issues during his first term. He spent much of 2017 attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
In a dramatic act, the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, cast the final vote against the Cassidy-Graham Obamacare bill.
Since then, Cassidy has grown close with the Trump White House, working alongside the president's daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump on issues like paid family leave.
Congressmen face re-election
All six of Louisiana's U.S. House members will be up for re-election in 2020, but so far no major challengers have been announced and the delegation — five Republicans and one Democrat — appear poised to easily win back their seats as they did in 2018.
One wildcard: U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, an Alto Republican who lost a bitter fight for the opportunity to face Edwards in the runoff in the governor's race. Abraham, who came in third in the primary after his campaign coffers were dwarfed by his top two competitors, has said he will announce after the first of the year whether he will run for Congress again.
The qualifying period will run July 15-17 for the Nov. 3 election.
U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, may have to spend some time away from the Louisiana campaign trail during the cycle to stump for Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. Richmond is a co-chair of Biden's campaign.
Presidential election brings Dems to Louisiana
Louisiana will undoubtedly vote Republican in the presidential election in the fall. But Democratic candidates have already made their way through the state attempting to woo support in the April 4 primary election.
Richmond has already signed on as a key surrogate for Biden's campaign, but several other high-profile Democrats from Louisiana have waited to endorse as the field still winnows.