Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 27

Incumbent – Rommie Johns (R – Term limited in 2023)

District Map


Senate District 27

Voting History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 25736 (53%) 26780 (54%)
Barack Obama (D) 22165 (46%) 22254 (45%)
Others 805 (2%) 831 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 27111 (57%) 27478 (57%)
John Kennedy (R) 18943 (40%) 19677 (41%)
Others 1282 (3%) 1327 (3%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 15613 (53%) 16321 (54%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 11713 (40%) 11805 (39%)
Others 2099 (7%) 2171 (7%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 15178 (52%) 15875 (53%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 14064 (48%) 14227 (47%)


Current District

Senate District 27 contains the city of Lake Charles and the surrounding areas immediately to the north and west. It has a significant (33%) black voting population, which is a 2% increase from when the lines were set after the 2001 reapportionment.

Though the Lake Charles area is mostly represented by Republicans in the Legislature, Senate District 27 has had a noticeable, though not overwhelming, preference for Democrats in most races, although Republicans did carry the district in the 2010 statewide races. This partisan preference is due to a city/suburban split present in the district. Precincts in the city of Lake Charles cast 52% of the vote and are 57% black. The suburban precincts to the north and west cast the remaining 48% of the vote and are 7% black. Because there is a significant blue collar presence in the precincts outside of Lake Charles (especially those immediately to the west on I-10), Democrats can win if they can get a respectable vote in the suburbs, because they are typically assured of a 2 to 1 margin from the Lake Charles precincts.

Curiously for a Democratic leaning district, moderate to conservative Democrats are usually elected here. From 1975 until his death in 1991, conservative Democrat Bill McLeod represented the area, and rarely had problems being re-elected. He was replaced in a special election by a more populist Democrat named Jim Cox, who defeated Republican Vic Stelly 58-31% in the 1991 special primary election. Senator Cox was then re-elected with unimpressive percentages in both the 1991 and 1995 runoffs against more conservative Democrats, with his re-election margin depending on cutting into the conservative suburban vote. When Sen. Cox retired in 1999, he was replaced by a more moderate Democrat, Willie Mount, who was at the time the mayor of Lake Charles. Mount was overwhelmingly elected in the 1999 primary and was unopposed in both 2003 and 2007. She cannot run again due to term limits, (UPDATED 9/8/2011) and was succeeded by Republican (and former state representative) Ronnie Johns, who was elected without opposition in 2011.

Proposed District

Unlike most open seats, this senate district was left relatively untouched during redistricting. The district population was 1% under the district ideal, and there were not enough minorities here or in adjacent districts to draw a black majority district. Therefore, only the most minor changes were made by trading three precincts along the western boundary of the district with District 30 (represented by recent party convert John Smith of Leesville). This resulted in a district slightly more conservative than the existing district, as the black voter registration has dropped from 33 to 32%, and the Lake Charles influence has decreased from 52 to 50%.

The new district can therefore be thought of as politically marginal, although the GOP has won most of the “top of the ballot” races here recently. (UPDATED 9/8/2011)  Republicans were fortunate to have a strong candidate (former state representative Ronnie Johns), and they were able to pick up the seat without Democratic competition.