Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 30

Incumbent – John Smith (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

Senate District 30


Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 31719 (76%) 30675 (76%)
Barack Obama (D) 9196 (22%) 9106 (22%)
Others 855 (2%) 829 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 16237 (41%) 15870 (41%)
John Kennedy (R) 22059 (55%) 21324 (55%)
Others 1555 (4%) 1510 (4%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 17751 (71%) 17043 (71%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 5155 (21%) 5063 (21%)
Others 2003 (8%) 1932 (8%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 17487 (71%) 16790 (71%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 7147 (29%) 6984 (29%)

 Current District

District 30 contains all of Beauregard and Vernon Parishes, plus the more rural northern and western fringes of Calcasieu Parish. The district has a low 11% black voter registration, which has not changed much since the last reapportionment. Politically, this district has voted heavily Republican in the last several Presidential elections, and in statewide elections, the district’s tendency to support Republicans has strengthened recently: in the 2010 elections, both David Vitter and Jay Dardenne received 71% of the vote here.

This is a district that re-elects its incumbents, and until recently only voted for Democrats. Democrat Bryan Poston from Vernon Parish was its senator from 1967-1991. He was succeeded by Democrat James David Cain from Dry Creek in Beauregard Parish. Senator Cain served for four terms until term limits forced him to retire in 2007, and switched to the Republican Party before his 2003 re-election. Probably in anticipation of term limits, he not only ran unsuccessfully for Insurance Commissioner in 2006, but he also attempted unsuccessfully to win his old House seat back in 2007.

The open seat race to succeed Senator Cain in 2007 was one of several Senate races where the Republicans did not bother to compete, and this arguably kept them from winning a majority in the Senate that year. Three Democrats sought the seat, and state Representative John Smith of Leesville narrowly defeated former legislator/former Congressman “Buddy” Leach 52-48% in the runoff. Smith was one of several Senators to switch parties after the 2010 elections, and his switch (combined with Sen. Alario’s switch and two special election victories earlier this year) helped pave the way for a Republican Senate. He is allowed to serve two more terms.

Proposed District

Redistricting in southwest Louisiana was relatively simple. The demographics weren’t there to create additional “majority minority” seats, and District 30 was almost exactly the population needed for a new district. Only minor changes were made to the district: three precincts near Sulphur were traded between District 30 and District 27 (represented by Democrat Willie Mount), with no political impact. Given the Republican trend in the district, Senator Smith (or any other Republican) shouldn’t have much issue getting elected here.