Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 31

Incumbent – Nancy Landry (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

House District 31

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 18863 (80%) 14925 (80%)
Barack Obama (D) 4435 (18%) 3430 (18%)
Others 417 (2%) 311 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 7714 (33%) 5899 (32%)
John Kennedy (R) 15100 (65%) 11993 (65%)
Others 540 (2%) 445 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 12869 (75%) 10356 (76%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 3155 (18%) 2414 (18%)
Others 1090 (6%) 853 (6%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 12295 (73%) 9917 (74%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 4592 (27%) 3505 (26%)

Current District

The continued growth in Lafayette Parish over the years enabled it to gain a new House seat after the 2001 reapportionment. House District 31 is located in the outer fringes of Lafayette and contains parts of Lafayette and Vermilion Parishes. Its portion of Vermilion Parish includes the northern fringes of the parish (centered on Maurice) that border Lafayette Parish. The district’s portion of Lafayette Parish actually contains two separate areas in the southern part of the parish: one “finger” stretches from the southwestern corner of the parish all the way up to the town of Scott, while the other “finger” is between Johnston and Bayou Vermilion stretching all the way up to the Broadmoor area of Lafayette.

Politically, this equates to a district with a decided Republican preference thanks to the south Lafayette precincts along Bayou Vermilion. The section of Lafayette Parish near Scott usually goes Republican, but not as overwhelmingly as the south Lafayette precincts do. The Vermilion precincts (which represent 20% of the vote) once favored Democrats, but changing voter attitudes and suburban growth have moved this area considerably towards the Republicans: these precincts supported David Vitter 75-18%, which actually exceeded his performance in the Lafayette precincts in the district. Furthermore, this is a nearly all white district: the black voter registration is 7%, which has not changed since the district lines were drawn.

Though the district has only had Republican representation in the House, it had closely fought contests for two election cycles in a row. Its first representative was Republican Don Trahan, who defeated fellow Republican Charlie Buckles by 13 votes in the 2003 runoff – his getting 70% of the Vermilion vote in the runoff made the difference. Surprisingly for a Republican incumbent, he received stiff opposition from Independent Nancy Landry in 2007, who with the support of Senator Mike Michot carried the Lafayette precincts with 51%. Rep. Trahan, however, was able to win re-election by 33 votes by getting 55% of the vote in Vermilion.

Rep. Trahan resigned in 2008 to take a job with the Department of Education. Nancy Landry ran again, this time as a Republican. She prevailed 62-38% over another Republican: while she carried Lafayette Parish with 66%, she again failed to carry Vermilion Parish, getting the same 45% of the vote she did in her 2007 race against Rep. Trahan. She is allowed to serve two more terms.

Proposed District

Robust population growth in the Lafayette area meant that the area districts had to shed territory. In the case of District 31, it was 21% over populated. The district therefore shrunk in size in both parishes. In Vermilion, only two precincts in and around Maurice were kept in the district, while in Lafayette, the precincts around Scott were moved into District 39 (held by Bobby Badon). Finally, three precincts in southwest Lafayette Parish along the Vermilion line were added to the district from District 45 (represented by Joel Robideaux). These changes had minimal political impact, although the black voter registration increased slightly to 8% and the Lafayette influence increased from 80 to 92%. While the Republican nature of the district should make re-election a sure thing for Rep. Landry, (UPDATED 9/8/2011) (in fact, she was unopposed in 2011) the competitive elections in prior years means she can’t take re-election entirely for granted.