Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 11

Incumbent – Jack Donahue (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

Senate District 11

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 49180 (75%) 45820 (78%)
Barack Obama (D) 15730 (24%) 11872 (20%)
Others 1073 (2%) 992 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 24382 (38%) 19115 (33%)
John Kennedy (R) 38627 (60%) 37163 (65%)
Others 1535 (2%) 1284 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 33114 (74%) 32374 (77%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 9626 (21%) 7628 (18%)
Others 2275 (5%) 2072 (5%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 33245 (74%) 32938 (79%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 11550 (26%) 8988 (21%)

Current District

As the New Orleans metropolitan area grew outward, the next logical focus for its growth after Jefferson and Saint Bernard Parishes was in the Northshore. Accordingly, the 1981 reapportionment for the first time resulted in a new Senate district being created in Saint Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes. This has remained the basic configuration of that district over the past several decades, despite continued strong population growth. The current incarnation of that district includes most of southern St Tammany Parish except for an area around Slidell/Pearl River in the east and Madisonville/Mandeville in the west. In Tangipahoa Parish, the district includes a finger of land on either side of I-12 between the Saint Tammany Parish line and downtown Hammond.

This is a nearly all white district, as the 11% black voter registration has barely budged throughout the decade; the miniscule black population in the district is concentrated in sections of Hammond, Slidell, and Lacombe. Similarly, this fast growing district is also heavily Republican: the GOP can count on about 3 to 1 margins here (especially in the Saint Tammany precincts), although the impact of Hurricane Katrina and Senator Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans roots helped her get 33% of the vote in 2002 and 38% in 2008.

Curiously, the district did not elect a Republican when it was created, and is another example of the historical dominance of the Democratic Party even in Republican friendly districts like these. Even though several Republicans ran in 1983, Slidell Democrat Gerry Hinton was elected in the 1983 runoff against another Democrat. He did switch parties in the mid 1980s, but his re-election percentages were not as strong as they should have been for a solidly Republican district like this – he received 62 and 56% of the vote in his two re-election campaigns. He decided to retire in 1995, probably because of FBI investigations into the video poker industry in 1995 – his friend and contributor Fred Goodson was in their investigation crosshairs. He was succeeded by Republican Tom Schedler, who was elected in the 1995 runoff against a Republican. He was unopposed in 1999, and defeated another Republican with 65% of the vote in 2003.

Senator Schedler was term limited in 2007 (he is currently serving as interim Secretary of State and is seeking election to that post this fall) and was replaced by engineer and CEO Jack Donahue, who overwhelmingly defeated term-limited Republican state representative “Pete” Schneider 64-33%, with solid margins in both parishes. Senator Donahue is allowed to seek two more terms.

New District

Continued strong population growth along the I-12 corridor in St Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes resulted in a district that was 23% over the population of an “ideal” Senate district (and in fact was the 3rd most populous state senate district) and was pared back. The precincts in and around Slidell were moved into the under populated district of Republican A.G. Crowe. The dissolution of the district of Republican Julie Quinn meant that Mandeville and Madisonville were moved back into the district. The district of Democrat Ben Nevers also sloughed off the Abita Springs precincts. Finally, some more Democratic leaning precincts in and around Hammond were moved into adjacent districts. Overall, these changes reduced the black voter registration from 11 to 7% and made a strongly Republican district even more Republican. Senator Donahue (or another Republican for that matter) shouldn’t have any issues with re-election.