Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 33

Incumbent – Mike Walsworth (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

Senate District 33

 Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 34108 (68%) 13645 (73%)
Barack Obama (D) 15233 (31%) 37646 (26%)
Others 582 (1%) 605 (1%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 18982 (40%) 17910 (36%)
John Kennedy (R) 27897 (58%) 30802 (62%)
Others 938 (2%) 981 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 19550 (66%) 21665 (69%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 8385 (28%) 7771 (25%)
Others 1724 (6%) 1796 (6%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 19464 (66%) 21581 (69%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 10047 (34%) 9473 (31%)

 Current District

Senate District 33 is located along the northern fringe of the state and contains all of West Carroll, Morehouse, and Union Parishes. It also contains the northeastern corner of Claiborne Parish and the northern suburban fringe of Ouachita Parish. As a whole, the district has a moderate (28%, up from 25% in 2003) black voter registration.

The political complexion of the district is Republican, due to the suburban precincts in Ouachita Parish (their share of the vote has been steadily increasing, to the point that 32% of the vote is cast there). There is, however, a Democratic voting base in the rural parishes that any Republican candidate must be aware of, since those parishes still cast 68% of the district vote.

The senate representation for this district has been fairly steady, and predominately Democratic until recently. David Ginn served from 1979-1987, and was replaced by Willie Crain. Senator Crain served until legal troubles led him to resign in 1994. Robert Barham was then elected in 1994 and served until term limits forced him out in 2007, and he switched parties before his last term. Only in 1994 and 2007, however, was the district vigorously contested.

The 2007 race to succeed Senator Barham was a partisan fight that in the old days was usually won by the Democratic candidate, due to the predominance of black and white rural voters. Furthermore, the Democrat, term limited representative Charles McDonald, had represented more of the district’s voters than the Republican candidate Mike Walsworth had. However, Walsworth had the advantage of sharing the ballot with Bobby Jindal, while McDonald was distracted by alleged ethical missteps and accusations of payments to voters in West Carroll Parish. On Election Day, Rep. Walsworth was able to combine a solid 2 to 1 lead in the Monroe suburbs with 61% support in Union Parish and enough votes elsewhere to win 52-48%. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) He is allowed to serve two more terms, and was unopposed in 2011.

Proposed District

Redistricting in northeast Louisiana was a little tricky, since you had under populated districts, as well as the pressure (and presumed legal mandate) to maintain or increase minority representation to offset losses in New Orleans. District 33 itself was 5% under populated relative to what an “ideal” district should have, and neighboring districts were similarly under populated. Therefore, territory had to be added, although the resulting changes strengthened the Republican tendencies of the district. Some rural precincts in the northern portion of Lincoln Parish were added, and additional precincts in Ouachita Parish were added. At the same time, a 72% black portion of southeast Morehouse around Bastrop was added to a District 34, which had a black majority but was similarly under populated. These changes not only reduced the black voter registration from 28 to 23%, but also increased the influence of Ouachita Parish from 32 to 38% of the district vote. Senator Walsworth should have little trouble being re-elected in this district.