Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 32

Incumbent – Neil Riser (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

Senate District 32

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 36834 (74%) 37973 (75%)
Barack Obama (D) 12538 (25%) 11923 (24%)
Others 690 (1%) 715 (1%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 18439 (38%) 18209 (37%)
John Kennedy (R) 28757 (59%) 29552 (60%)
Others 1200 (2%) 1231 (3%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 20780 (69%) 21071 (70%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 7300 (24%) 6922 (23%)
Others 2007 (7%) 2122 (7%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 20819 (70%) 20916 (70%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 9125 (30%) 9036 (30%)

 Current District

District 32 is located generally in northeast Louisiana and contains all or parts of 10 parishes. Interestingly, this is the only district that includes some of the suburban/exurban areas of Monroe, Alexandria, and Baton Rouge. Specifically, it contains all of Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin, LaSalle, and West Feliciana. It contains parts of Avoyelles, Concordia, Ouachita, Richland, and Rapides. It has a modest 20% black voter registration that has not changed since the lines were last drawn.

This district typically gives respectable margins to Republican candidates at the top of the ballot, although for years it voted Democratic in legislative and local elections. And unlike other senate districts in the area, this district has seen quite a few competitive races and/or turnover. It ousted incumbents in 1983 and 1987. The senator elected that year, Democrat Steve Thompson, served for two terms before retiring in 1995. He was succeeded by Democrat Noble Ellington, who previously represented part of the area in the state House for two terms. He represented the district for three terms before term limits forced him to retire in 2007 – interestingly, he sought his old House seat that year and was successful.

The open seat race was one of several senate races in north Louisiana that year that the Republicans contested against a more established Democrat. In this case, the Democrats ran former state representative/Wildlife and Fisheries secretary Bryant Hammett. Republicans ran funeral home owner Neil Riser, who led 49-41% in the primary and won in the runoff with 55%. He made a strong showing in most parishes except those in and around Hammett’s old state House district. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) Senator Riser is allowed to seek two more terms, and was unopposed in 2011.

Proposed District

Though redistricting in central and north Louisiana was a little tricky, Senate District 32 was relatively unchanged. Even though it had 4% less population than that required for the “ideal” district, minor changes were made to the periphery of the district (although nearly all of Richland Parish was removed) that essentially kept the district intact. The black voter registration decreased from 20 to 18%, which slightly strengthened the Republican leanings of the district. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) Since this was one of several districts where Republicans were able to “break through” in 2007, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of competition Democrats can offer in future elections.