Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 49

Incumbent – Simone Champagne (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

House District 49


Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 13633 (66%) 12652 (67%)
Barack Obama (D) 6783 (33%) 5784 (31%)
Others 366 (2%) 330 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 9947 (50%) 8939 (50%)
John Kennedy (R) 9437 (48%) 8690 (48%)
Others 416 (2%) 372 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 8271 (63%) 7612 (65%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 4164 (32%) 3490 (30%)
Others 645 (5%) 573 (5%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 7661 (59%) 6958 (60%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 5270 (41%) 4587 (40%)

Current District

House District 49 includes the eastern fringe of Vermillion Parish and most of Iberia Parish southwest of Highway 90. It has a moderate 23% black voter registration (most of that in the Iberia Parish portion of the district), which has not changed much since the district lines were last drawn.

Historically, the district supported Democrats for statewide races (especially if the Democrat came from Acadiana), while voting mildly Republican in Presidential elections. However, there has been an unmistakable movement towards the right here in recent years – even with strong statewide Democratic turnout in 2008, Mary Landrieu carried the district 50-48% at the same time John McCain received 66% of the district’s votes. The trend towards the Republicans continued in the 2010 elections, as Republican candidates at the top of the ticket received comfortable majorities of the district voters – David Vitter’s 63% of the vote was a Republican performance that only some Republcian presidential candidates could hope to get here in prior elections.

Until recently, the district was solidly Democratic at the legislative level, and it re-elected its incumbents with little incident. From 1975 to 1995, Democrat Ted Haik was its representative. When he retired in 1995, he was succeeded by Democrat Troy Hebert, who served until term limits forced him out in 2007 (he successfully was elected to the state senate that year, and he served there for three years). When his seat opened up, only one Democratic candidate, Iberia Parish Chief Administrative Officer Simone Champagne, filed to run. She compiled a largely conservative record in the state House and switched parties in June 2010. While she was unsuccessful in her attempt to get elected to a vacant state senate seat earlier this year, she performed respectably in her district: while only getting 19% of the vote, she received 41% of the votes in the precincts she represented in her district. She is allowed to serve two more terms.

New District

In Acadiana, population growth meant that some reshuffling of the district lines had to occur to accommodate the new district that was drawn in the Bayou Teche area (District 49 itself was 9% overpopulated). The district was shifted further into Vermilion Parish: some precincts around New Iberia were placed in neighboring districts, while precincts along the western edge of the district between Maurice and Pecan Island were added. Politically, these changes had little impact: the black voter registration decreased from 23 to 20% and the Republican performance of the district increased slightly. However, these changes could invite a Vermilion based challenger, since the influence of Vermilion Parish has increased from 30 to 47%.