Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 8

Incumbent – Jane Smith (R – Term limited in 2011)

District Map

House District 8


Voting History


2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 15621 (75%) 13081 (74%)
Barack Obama (D) 5010 (24%) 4399 (25%)
Others 192 (1%) 149 (1%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 7234 (36%) 6130 (36%)
John Kennedy (R) 12404 (62%) 10473 (62%)
Others 431 (2%) 337 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 10077 (75%) 8525 (76%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 2783 (21%) 2354 (21%)
Others 489 (4%) 392 (3%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 9149 (70%) 7737 (70%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 3969 (30%) 3328 (30%)


Current District

Republicans gained a perceptible presence in the legislature in 1995 by capturing conservative leaning seats like House District 8. The district is located entirely within Bossier Parish and includes most of the neighborhoods along Airline Drive and Benton Road between the parish seat of Benton and Barksdale Air Force Base.

This district is one of a handful of state House districts with more registered Republicans than registered Democrats, and it has a modest black voter population of 15%, which is up from 12% several years ago. District 8 can be counted on to support Republican candidates, with typical 3 to 1 margins for Presidential elections, and 2 to 1 margins for statewide races.

Before the 1995 Republican surge in legislative races, Democrats typically represented the area, and Robert Adley represented the area for 16 years without much competition before retiring to run for governor in 1995 (he now represents part of the parish in the state Senate as a Republican). In 1995, Republican Bob Barton was comfortably elected over a Democrat, but he only stayed one term – he unsuccessfully challenged then Republican incumbent state Senator Max Malone. Rep. Barton was succeeded in 1999 by another Republican, Jane Smith, who has generally been re-elected by comfortable margins. She is prevented from seeking re-election this year due to term limits.

Proposed District

In Bossier Parish, the redistricting issue was not which district/districts would be eliminated, but what to do with the excess population (District 8 was 24% overpopulated). Precincts in the southern portion of the district around Barksdale were given to neighboring districts, while a handful of precincts inside of Bossier City were added from District 9, represented by Henry Burns. The overall political effect of these changes was nil, although it’s worth noticing that the black voter population increased from 15 to 17%. This seat will almost certainly stay in Republican hands this fall.