Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 9

Incumbent – Conrad Appel (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

Senate District 9

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 34812 (75%) 39701 (73%)
Barack Obama (D) 11121 (24%) 14045 (26%)
Others 758 (2%) 970 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 19692 (43%) 23892 (44%)
John Kennedy (R) 25216 (55%) 28989 (54%)
Others 1010 (2%) 1156 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 22994 (73%) 26902 (71%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 6744 (22%) 9306 (25%)
Others 1547 (5%) 1690 (4%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 22987 (74%) 27369 (73%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 8110 (26%) 10343 (27%)

Current District

Senate District 9 is one of the most geographically compact Senate districts in Louisiana. It is shaped like a square, and is bounded by Lake Pontchartrain in the north, the Mississippi River in the south, the Soniat Canal in the west, and a jagged line in the east that puts Bucktown and Old Metairie just outside of the district.

This is a district that has been heavily Republican for years, although the black voter registration has nearly doubled from 5 to 9% throughout the decade. This trend is probably due to black in migration from New Orleans and white outmigration to newer suburbs like those in Saint Tammany Parish. Also, there is one exception to the 3 to 1 margins Republicans typically get here: Senator Mary Landrieu has always run ahead of typical Democratic performances in the district: in her 2002 re-election, she received 34% of the vote, and in her 2008 re-election, she received 43% of the vote here, thanks to her visibility after Hurricane Katrina.

The district has had steady Republican representation over the years. In 1982, Republican Ken Hollis was elected and was the Senate’s lone Republican for several years until there were several party switches early in the third Edwards administration after he pushed through a tax increase. Senator Hollis was typically re-elected pretty easily, although he was held to 61% of the vote against fellow Republican Polly Thomas in 2003. He was forced to retire in 2007 because of term limits.

His replacement in that election was another Republican, state representative Steve Scalise, who was easily elected in the primary with 61%. He did not serve long, however: Bobby Jindal’s first primary victory on the same night that Scalise won meant that his Congressional seat was vacant. Scalise immediately jumped into the race and easily won. This required a special election to be held in the fall of 2008 for the vacant Senate seat. Three Republicans jumped into the race, and Republican businessman Conrad Appel defeated Polly Thomas 52-48% in the runoff. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) Senator Appel is allowed to serve two more terms, and was unopposed in 2011.

New District

Population losses in Orleans and Jefferson Parish made redistricting a tricky proposition for the area, particularly since District 9 was 7% under populated. However, the elimination of a neighboring senate district (Senate District 6, represented by Republican Julie Quinn) that stretched from Uptown New Orleans to Hammond simplified things. Heavily Republican precincts between the Soniat Canal and Transcontinental (which voted 74-21% for David Vitter) were absorbed by Senate District 10 (represented by Republican Danny Martiny). With the elimination of District 6, the precincts in Bucktown and Old Metairie (which voted for Senator Vitter 76-20%) were also added to the district, as were the Uptown New Orleans precincts between Jefferson Avenue and the Orleans Parish line south of St Charles (Charlie Melancon carried this area 50-47%). Finally, a handful of 78% black precincts along Airline Highway in Metairie were added to a neighboring Senate district in New Orleans. These changes reduced the black voter registration from 9 to 6% although, due to the addition of the more liberal Uptown New Orleans precincts, there was a slight uptick in the Democratic performance of the district. Republicans should still have little trouble winning this seat.