Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 36

Incumbent – Robert Adley (R – Term Limited in 2015)

District Map

Senate District 36

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 35807 (66%) 34584 (70%)
Barack Obama (D) 17977 (33%) 14524 (29%)
Others 552 (1%) 517 (1%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 23213 (45%) 19632 (41%)
John Kennedy (R) 27576 (53%) 26713 (56%)
Others 1312 (3%) 1200 (3%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 22847 (65%) 22144 (68%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 10417 (30%) 8739 (27%)
Others 1832 (5%) 1640 (5%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 20776 (60%) 20065 (62%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 14118 (40%) 12198 (38%)

Current District

The transition of rural and/or north Louisiana from a populist stronghold to a Republican-friendly area is best exemplified in Senate District 36. It is located in northwest Louisiana and contains a mixture of suburbs and rural areas. It contains all of Bienville and Webster Parishes, as well as portions of Bossier, Claiborne, and Red River Parishes. Its black voter registration is 27% of the population. This is actually down from 28% when the lines were drawn, and can best be explained by robust suburban growth in the Bossier Parish precincts.

Historically, the district had a split political personality: it voted Republican in most races, but the GOP margins in statewide races were narrow. This was because of the Democratic voting base in the rural parishes, which in 2003 cast 60% of the district vote and was 35% black. Throughout the decade, growth in Bossier Parish diluted the influence of the rural areas from 60% to 54%, and the Republican performance of the district similarly improved across the board. Additionally, a broader trend in Louisiana of rural voters away from the Democratic Party has similarly helped Republican fortunes here.

This conservative trend was also reflected in the legislative representation the district has had. From 1975 until his election to the Public Service Commission in 2002, a populist Democrat named Foster Campbell represented the district and was easily re-elected throughout his Senate tenure. When his seat opened up in early 2003, conservative Democrat and former state representative Robert Adley was elected in the runoff with 68% of the vote.  He was unopposed in 2003 and was easily re-elected against a 21 year old Republican in 2007. Shortly after that election, he switched to the Republican Party. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) Senator Adley is allowed to serve one more term, and was unopposed in 2011.

Proposed District

Redistricting was not much of an issue in northwest Louisiana: the district itself was 3% over populated, and the only place to put a new black minority district was between Ruston and Alexandria. This did indirectly impact the district in that precincts in eastern Bienville (which was 60% black) was transferred to this “new” district, and a 67% black portion of eastern Red River Parish was transferred to a neighboring district. The only other adjustment made was the addition of a suburbanizing precinct in Bossier Parish just north of I-220. Altogether, these changes reduced the black voter registration from 27 to 22%, and increased the influence of Bossier Parish from 46 to 52%. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) This means not only that Senator Adley should have easy re-elections in the future (he was unopposed in 2011), but with the continued growth in Bossier Parish and Republican trend in the rural areas, Republicans should have a stronger foothold here in elections to come.