The end of a legendary era has come to a close with Senate President John Alario’s decision to not seek re-election.
Alario’s tide floated many boats, and there are no doubt a few government relations professionals (and maybe gubernatorial candidates) rethinking their strategy for the next term.
From a purely political perspective, this news will put to rest the rumors that Alario was going to somehow bubble to the surface for next term’s race for speaker.
His absence next year will also undoubtedly help kick off a number of story lines about the next Legislature marking a transitional moment in the Capitol’s recent history.
As far as local politics, his bow increases the chances that his son, Chris, may consider a run for a justice of the peace post in Jefferson Parish.
Winning as a Republican in the Dem-Heavy HD 83, which Alario was sworn into in 1972, was going to require some work, although few thought the Senate president could lose.
It has a Democratic registration of nearly 60 percent and a black population of 57 percent. Alario previously said he intended to run as a Republican if he ran at all.
Alario’s move naturally opens up the seat again, with Rep. Robert Billiot term limited. Kyle Green Jr., whose father served in the House, is “strongly considering” a bid. Green lost to Billiot in the 2015 runoff by 294 votes and friends say he has already identified a few healthy sources for fundraising.
James C. Simmons Jr., a former sheriff’s captain, and Donald Jones, a former parish councilman who has run for legislative seats in previous cycles, were both said to be eyeing the seat, even if Alario qualified.
Local politicos now expect Jones to run for a parish-level position and Simmons to stick it out.