Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 42

Incumbent – Jack Montoucet (D – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map


House District 42


 Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 11426 (67%) 11426 (67%)
Barack Obama (D) 5310 (31%) 5310 (31%)
Others 333 (2%) 333 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 8250 (49%) 8250 (49%)
John Kennedy (R) 8041 (48%) 8041 (48%)
Others 389 (2%) 389 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 6732 (62%) 6732 (62%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 3450 (32%) 3450 (32%)
Others 662 (6%) 662 (6%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 6190 (57%) 6190 (57%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 4577 (43%) 4577 (43%)


Current District

The town of Crowley, Louisiana is unique because, in the words of the Almanac of American Politics, “it seems to have produced more prominent politicians per capita than any other place in America.” It helped launch the career of former Governor Edwin Edwards, former Senator John Breaux, and former Congressman Chris John (who ran for Breaux’s seat in 2004 but lost to David Vitter). House District 42 includes Crowley and the rest of southern Acadia Parish, as well as two precincts in Lafayette Parish. It has a modest 21% black voter registration that has remained unchanged since the lines were drawn a decade ago.

Historically, the district supported Democrats for statewide races (especially if the Democrat came from Acadiana), while voting heavily Republican in Presidential elections. However, there has been an unmistakable movement towards the right here in recent years – even with strong Democratic turnout in 2008, Mary Landrieu’s 49-48% plurality was actually a drop in her performance here compared to her 2002 race, when she carried the district with 53%. And in elections last year, Republicans like David Vitter and Jay Dardenne posted the kind of margins that only Republican Presidential candidates would get.

At the local level, however, the district has thus far only voted for Democrats, and there have typically been competitive races only when the seat is open. Former Congressman Chris John was elected here in 1987 by upsetting a first term incumbent and served for two terms, vacating the seat in 1995 to run unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor. He was succeeded in 1995 by Gil Pinac, who was re-elected twice without opposition, but  was term limited out in 2007. In the race to succeed Rep. Pinac, Jack Montoucet defeated former Crowley mayor Isabella delaHoussaye (who actually ran for the seat in 1995 as a Democrat) 58-42%, with comfortable margins in both parishes.

Proposed District

While redistricting in some parts of the state was a contentious process, in the case of District 42, the process was painless. Though the district population was 4% under the population of an “ideal” district, a 5% population variance, is permitted, and without the demographics to permit the drawing of a new black majority district, District 42 was one of several districts that remained unchanged.

While historically this has been a safe district for its incumbents, the movement to the right in recent years leads us to question whether its Democratic incumbent can take his re-election for granted.