Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 7

Incumbent – Richie Burford (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map


House District 7


Voting History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 12816 (62%) 14786 (72%)
Barack Obama (D) 7595 (37%) 5583 (27%)
Others 216 (1%) 260 (1%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 9253 (47%) 7774 (40%)
John Kennedy (R) 10037 (51%) 11422 (58%)
Others 381 (2%) 453 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 8006 (61%) 9107 (68%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 4512 (34%) 3604 (27%)
Others 617 (5%) 659 (5%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 7160 (55%) 8087 (61%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 5839 (45%) 5106 (39%)


Current District

House District 7 is located in northwest Louisiana and contains a mixture of Shreveport suburbs in southern Caddo Parish and all but three precincts of rural (but suburbanizing) De Soto Parish. Its black voter registration is 30%, which is up from 27% the last time the lines were drawn, due to demographic changes in the suburban precincts in Caddo Parish.

Typically, the district votes Republican in “top of the ballot” contests, although in statewide contests, the GOP preference is more marginal. The Republican preference is due to the fact that the 42% of the vote cast in Caddo Parish is decidedly Republican, and usually offsets the Democratic leanings in De Soto Parish.

In legislative races, the district voted Democratic until recently, and did so by because Democrats ran candidates with appeal to rural white voters in De Soto Parish. Democrat Johnny McFerren represented this seat for years until his 1995 retirement. He was succeeded by De Soto Parish Democrat Beverly Bruce, whose 53-47% victory was clinched by the 64% of the vote she received in De Soto Parish, which more than offset the Republican margins in Caddo Parish. She was unopposed for the next two terms, and was term limited out in 2007. She was succeeded by Republican Richie Burford. Because he was from De Soto Parish, he prevented Democrats from building a coalition of rural white voters and blacks like they had in the past. His 58% of the vote in DeSoto, combined with 75% support in Caddo, enabled him to win the runoff with 63% of the vote. He is allowed to serve two more terms.

Proposed District

Redistricting was a challenge in northwest Louisiana because of pressures to create additional “majority minority” seats (in fact, at the time this analysis is being written, the Black Caucus has filed suit over what they believe is insufficient minority representation in Shreveport). Even though the district was 2% over the population of an “ideal” district, the minority district created in Natchitoches required removal of a 64% black portion of central and southeast De Soto Parish near I-49. This meant that the district had to add territory in northern Sabine Parish and in southwestern Caddo Parish.

These changes reduced the black voter registration from 30 to 19% and, as a result, Rep. Burford has a safer district to run in from a demographic standpoint. His challenge this year instead will be the increase in the influence of Caddo Parish from 42 to 55%, which may encourage a Shreveport based challenger to run (De Soto Parish is now 36% of the district’s voters, and Sabine has the remaining 9%).