Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 21

Incumbent – “Andy” Anders (D – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

House District 21

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 7895 (44%) 8233 (42%)
Barack Obama (D) 9975 (55%) 11014 (57%)
Others 162 (1%) 171 (1%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 10767 (63%) 11793 (64%)
John Kennedy (R) 5942 (35%) 6198 (34%)
Others 349 (2%) 371 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 4693 (48%) 4878 (47%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 4292 (44%) 4759 (45%)
Others 757 (8%) 825 (8%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 4883 (50%) 5085 (49%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 4855 (50%) 5375 (51%)

Current District

District 21 is located along the Mississippi River delta and contains all of Concordia Parish, as well as the portions of Madison, Tensas, and East Carroll Parishes closest to the river. It was reconfigured in 1991 to elect a black, and it has a 56% black voter registration (a figure which has not changed during the last decade).

The black voter registration figures are deceiving, however. Though the district does vote reliably Democratic in statewide elections, the margins are closer than you’d think, because the black vote here tends not to vote at the same intensity that whites do. Combine that with the racial polarization in the Delta parishes, and you have a district that is closely divided politically in recent elections.

And despite the 1991 reapportionment, this district has had steady representation over the years. Al Ater (who briefly was the Secretary of State after Fox McKeithen’s death) represented the bulk of the district from 1984-1992. When his district was configured to be majority black in 1991, it was done by centering the district in the black majority Mississippi River Parishes in North Louisiana. However, Bryant Hammett was able to win by sweeping his home parish of Concordia while getting enough votes in the other Delta parishes to win. This formula allowed him to defeat black Democrats in the 1991 and 1995 runoffs; after that, he had no electoral problems. He resigned his seat in 2006 when former Governor Blanco appointed him head of Wildlife and Fisheries.

A special election was held in 2006. Concordia Parish Democrat “Andy” Anders was elected with 60% of the vote in the runoff after nearly winning outright in the primary. He was then elected to a full term with 62% of the vote against three opponents. He is allowed to serve two more terms.

Proposed District

The biggest challenge the district had to face during reapportionment was that it was 11% under populated. Since the adjacent districts were all represented by Republicans, the solution was simple: slough off the black majority precincts to make those districts more securely Republican; in doing so, the “majority minority” status of the district could be maintained. District 14 (represented by Sam Little) contributed the northern portion of East Carroll Parish. District 19 (represented by “Bubba” Chaney) contributed a 43% black precinct in Tallulah. And District 20 (represented by Noble Ellington) contributed black precincts in Jonesville (in Catahoula Parish) and in Tensas Parish. 

The overall effect of these additions was to increase the black voter registration from 56 to 57%. While it’s nearly impossible for a Republican to win, it will be interesting to see if weak minority turnout will enable white Democrats to keep getting elected here in the future.