Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 14

Incumbent – Sam Little (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

House District 14

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 12500 (66%) 17044 (78%)
Barack Obama (D) 6317 (33%) 4434 (20%)
Others 218 (1%) 298 (1%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 7774 (43%) 6483 (31%)
John Kennedy (R) 10109 (55%) 14053 (67%)
Others 351 (2%) 378 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 6979 (63%) 10241 (73%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 3487 (31%) 3170 (23%)
Others 675 (6%) 664 (5%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 6937 (63%) 10322 (74%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 4163 (37%) 3691 (26%)

Current District

District 14 is located in the northeastern corner of the state and contains parts of four parishes: East Carroll, West Carroll, Morehouse, and the northeastern fringe of Ouachita Parish. As a whole, the district has a significant (32%, up from 29% in 2003) black voter population.

Typically, the district votes Republican in “top of the ballot” contests, as the precincts in West Carroll Parish and Ouachita Parish give lopsided margins to GOP candidates; these margins typically offset the Democratic tendencies in the district’s portions of Morehouse and East Carroll Parishes.

This is a district that is in the habit of re-electing its incumbent legislators without incident. Democrat John Ensminger served from 1972 to 1991 and switched to the Republican Party in 1985. He vacated the seat in 1991 to enjoy a brief tenure in the state senate, and was succeeded by Democrat Charles McDonald. He served for four terms without opposition, and because he was term limited in 2007, he vacated the seat to run unsuccessfully for the state senate, although his constituents gave him 61% of the vote in the precincts he had represented.

The open seat created by Rep. McDonald’s departure was one of several “conservative friendly” seats that the LCRM (Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority) targeted, and the Republican, Sam Little, won in the runoff over a Democrat by 9 votes. Rep. Little is allowed to serve two more terms.

Proposed District

Population losses in Orleans and Jefferson Parish had a ripple effect throughout the state during reapportionment: in addition to the fact that Metro New Orleans lost legislative representation, the minority seats that were eliminated had to be redrawn elsewhere, according to interpretations of the Voting Rights Act. Given the demographics of northeast Louisiana (as well as the fact that you had a term limited representative in an adjacent district), that meant that an additional black majority district could be created in that area with minimal impact to incumbents.

How did this impact District 14? In three ways. Even though the district was 3% under populated and theoretically could have been left alone, District 16 (represented by term limited Republican Kay Katz) acquired a 61% black (by voter registration) section of Morehouse Parish, while more conservative voters in Ouachita Parish west of Sterlington Road/Highway 165 (Vitter carried this area 69-26%) were added to District 14. The district also lost some rural precincts in Morehouse, West Carroll, and East Carroll parishes to District 19, which is represented by Republican “Bubba” Chaney.

From a political standpoint, these changes reduced the black voter registration to 15% and transformed the district from Republican leaning to “safe Republican” that can be counted on to give 3 to 1 margins for Republican candidates. However, you have a district that is now 83% in Ouachita Parish. This would seem to favor a Monroe-based challenger, except for the fact that a section of Ouachita Parish was already in Rep. Little’s district. This means that Rep. Little has to concern himself with the 62% of the district that is in north Monroe that he has not yet represented. Assuming he can be re-elected in his reconfigured district, he (or any other Republican, for that matter) should not have re-election worries.