Incumbent – Kevin Pearson (R – Term Limited in 2019)
House District 76 is anchored in the southeastern corner of St. Tammany Parish in an area generally east of I-10/59 and the Mississippi Border. It includes most of Slidell and its suburban fringe to the east. It has a moderate 16% black voter registration (which is up from 12% when the lines were last drawn), and is most likely due to migration from New Orleans after Katrina.
Despite these mild demographic changes, the district consistently turns in about 70% support for Republican candidates in most races (unless New Orleans native Mary Landrieu is on the ballot), and in fact this was one of the first districts to elect Republican legislators. After single member districts were created in 1971, Ed Scogin was elected and served for 20 years. Though originally elected a Democrat, Rep. Scogin switched to the Republican party in 1979 and served until Republican Suzanne Krieger defeated him in the 1991 runoff. Rep. Krieger vacated the seat in 1995 to run for Lt. Governor, and was soundly defeated in the runoff by Kathleen Blanco. Rep. Krieger was succeeded by Republican Tom Thornhill, who left after serving one term, and was succeeded by another Republican, A.G. Crowe. Crowe won in the runoff against Krieger, who attempted to get elected to her old seat. Crowe then served for two terms before getting himself elected to an open state senate seat in 2007.
Four Republicans sought to succeed Crowe, and financial advisor Kevin Pearson prevailed in the runoff by 50 votes. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) He is allowed to serve two more terms, and was unopposed in 2011.
The challenge with regards to reapportionment in St Tammany Parish was where to put the new district, and how to shrink the St Tammany based districts. District 76 was 16% over the population of an “ideal” district, and modifications had to be made. To smooth out the district lines, District 76 picked up two Slidell precincts from District 90 (held by Greg Cromer). It then sloughed off all precincts west of I-10/59 and north of Highway 190 to District 90 and District 104 (the newly created district). These changes had no political or demographic impact, as the black voter registration remained at 16%. Rep. Pearson (or any other Republican) should not have problems getting elected here.