Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 1

Incumbent – Jim Morris (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

House District 1

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 13167 (70%) 12687 (71%)
Barack Obama (D) 5455 (29%) 5046 (28%)
Others 188 (1%) 178 (1%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 7186 (40%) 6753 (40%)
John Kennedy (R) 10254 (57%) 9841 (58%)
Others 419 (2%) 403 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 8380 (68%) 8023 (70%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 3281 (27%) 2939 (25%)
Others 625 (5%) 567 (5%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 7467 (62%) 7179 (63%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 4622 (38%) 4192 (37%)


Current District

The recent increasing strength of Republicans in Louisiana in “down ballot” races is best exhibited in House District 1, as it faithfully votes Republican in statewide races, but only recently started to vote for Republican legislators.

District 1 itself is a collection of small towns in northern Caddo (through which I-49 North is currently being built) and Bossier Parishes.  It also includes the northern suburban fringe to the west and northwest of Shreveport. It has a modest and stable 22% black voter registration.

The Shreveport suburbs historically provided the Republican anchor in the district, while the rural areas, with a significant population of black voters, used to lean Democratic. In statewide elections, this meant that Republicans could count on about 60% of the district vote, while GOP Presidential candidates could count on about 2 to 1 support. Like most rural districts, the area swung heavily to the Republicans in the 2010 elections.

The district was actually one of the first districts to vote for a Republican to the state House: Republican Bruce Lynn held the district from 1976 to 1988, although he faced substantial Democratic opposition each time he ran for re-election. When he decided to retire in 1987, the seat returned to Democratic control, as “Hoppy” Hopkins was elected that year and was re-elected for four more terms with little incident. However, even he was aware that it was his personal popularity, rather than a desire to vote for Democrats, that kept the seat in Democratic hands: in a 2005 interview with PoliticsLA.com, he noted that he would likely be “the last Democrat to hold the seat.” He died of bone cancer in 2006, and in the special election to succeed him, Republican county commissioner Jim Morris won a solid 69% of the vote in the primary, and he was then re-elected for a full term that fall with 64% of the vote, with equal percentages in both parishes. This GOP pickup of this district was a preview of Republican legislative gains to come later that year. Representative Morris is allowed to serve two more terms.

Proposed District

Though redistricting was a challenge in northwest Louisiana because of pressures to create additional “majority minority” seats (at the time this analysis is being written, the Black Caucus has filed suit over what they believe is insufficient minority representation in Shreveport), District 1 was 4% over the population required for an “ideal” district. Several precinct trades were made with neighboring districts which reduced the black voter registration from 22 to 21%: (1) portions of Bossier Parish between Benton and Plain Dealing were added, (2) precincts between Cross Lake and Blanchard were removed from the district, and (3) a precinct along the DeSoto Parish line was removed from the district. (UPDATED 9/8/2011) Rep. Morris was unopposed for re-election, and he (or any other Republican) should not have trouble being elected/re-elected from this district.