Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 33

Incumbent – Mike Danahay (D – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

House District 33


Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 13434 (74%) 12892 (75%)
Barack Obama (D) 4273 (24%) 3936 (23%)
Others 446 (2%) 419 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 7734 (44%) 7278 (43%)
John Kennedy (R) 9345 (53%) 8989 (53%)
Others 632 (4%) 635 (4%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 7740 (68%) 7392 (68%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 2718 (24%) 2550 (24%)
Others 901 (8%) 893 (8%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 7584 (68%) 7238 (68%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 3638 (32%) 3472 (32%)

Current District

Calcasieu Parish, which contains Lake Charles, is a parish of anomalies. It is a petrochemical hub noted by John Maginnis in The Last Hayride as having “a rough and tumble hardhat mentality, what Baton Rouge would be without the greening influences of LSU or state government.” Yet its blue collar voters, who used to vote Democratic in statewide elections, have been more inclined to vote Republican in recent elections, and the legislative delegation of the area is evenly split between the parties.

District 33 includes more of the blue collar portions of Calcasieu Parish west of the Calcasieu River, as well as the southwest portion of Beauregard Parish. This district is nearly all white; its 8% black voter registration has been virtually the same since the lines were last drawn. Republicans typically carry this district in “top of the ballot” races, with larger margins in Presidential races than in statewide races, although in recent statewide races, Republicans have been getting Presidential level percentages from the district.

In legislative elections, Democrats are still victorious here, and the district re-elects its representatives with little fuss. Between 1987 and 1995, Dennis, then Tim Stine represented the district. Insurance agent Ronnie Johns then succeeded the Stines in 1995 by winning 62% of the vote, and was unopposed in the next two elections, even after he switched to the Republican Party in 2003.

Representative Johns was term limited in 2007, and unlike most open seats that year, no Republican could be found to run for the seat. In fact, the lone Democratic candidate, Calcasieu Parish Police Juror Mike Danahay, ran unopposed. It certainly helped that he had Rep. Johns’ support. However, while this was a numerical loss for the Republicans, Rep. Johns noted that “I don’t think you’ll see an ounce of difference in our philosophies in both fiscal and social agendas.” Rep. Danahay is allowed to serve two more terms.

Proposed District

Redistricting in southwest Louisiana was relatively simple. The demographics weren’t there to create additional “majority minority” seats, and District 33 was 6% over the population of the “ideal” district. Adjustments were made to make the district more compact: DeQuincy and the precincts in southwest Beauregard Parish were placed in District 32 (held by Democrat Dorothy Sue Hill), and a portion of southwest Calcasieu Parish near Vinton was placed in District 47 (represented by newly elected Republican Bob Hensgens). Added to the district was an area south of I-10 centered around Carlyss, which was taken from District 36 (represented by Republican Chuck Kleckley).

These changes had minimal demographic or political impact: while the black voter registration was reduced from 8 to 7%, the conservative tendencies of the district were not altered. (UPDATED 9/8/2011)  While Rep. Danahay was unopposed in 2011, at some point, Republicans will contest this district.