Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 37

Incumbent – Johnny Guinn (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

House District 37

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 13384 (68%) 12752 (69%)
Barack Obama (D) 5791 (30%) 5390 (29%)
Others 416 (2%) 399 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 9058 (48%) 8534 (48%)
John Kennedy (R) 9311 (49%) 8824 (49%)
Others 508 (3%) 488 (3%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 7886 (64%) 7488 (64%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 3616 (29%) 3359 (29%)
Others 881 (7%) 845 (7%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 7492 (61%) 7122 (61%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 4856 (39%) 4539 (39%)

Current District

House District 37 is in southwest Louisiana and contains all of Jefferson Davis Parish and the easternmost fringe of Calcasieu Parish between Wardline Road and the Jefferson Davis Parish line. Demographically, you have a modest 16% black voter registration that has remained unchanged throughout the past decade.

Like most of southwest Louisiana, this was once a district that voted Democratic (especially once you got below the Presidential race on the ballot), but not by overwhelming margins. Recently, the Republican preference in Presidential races has gotten stronger, and in most statewide races, the district has begun to support Republicans as well – not only were GOP performances in the 2010 statewide elections above 60%, but this was one of four state House districts that Mary Landrieu carried in 2002 and lost in 2008, despite the fact that she benefitted from high Democratic turnout that year.

This Republican trend has also begun to show up in legislative races, as Jefferson Davis Parish now has Republican representation both in the House and Senate. This is a recent occurrence, however: from 1971 to 1991, Democrat James Martin represented the district. He was then succeeded in 1991 by another Democrat, Gerald Theunissen, who served until 1996, when he ran for an open state Senate seat in a special election (curiously, in that race, he defeated former Republican chairman Mike Francis 56-44%). Theunissen’s successor was another Democrat, “Blade” Morrish, who eventually switched parties after Hurricane Rita, and was term limited out in 2007 (he successfully ran for the term limited senate seat of his predecessor, Gerald Theunissen).

The open seat race was one of several that the GOP targeted and won: their candidate, Johnny Guinn, was elected in the runoff by 26 votes, and he received 53% in Jefferson Davis Parish and 38% in Calcasieu. Rep. Guinn is allowed to serve two more terms.

Proposed District

Redistricting was relatively painless here. District 37 was 7% over the “ideal” district population, and the demographics only supported the creation of one black majority district in southwest Louisiana (which was already in existence). All that had to be done was shifting one precinct between Tom Hebert Road and Wardline Road in Calcasieu Parish to District 47 (represented by Republican Bob Hensgens). This change had no political or demographic impact, although the Jefferson Davis potion of the district went from 69 to 73% of the voters. Rep. Guinn shouldn’t have re-election issues ((UPDATED 9/8/2011) he was unopposed in 2011) , although it will be interesting to see if the recent trend towards the Republicans means that this is a safe seat for them well into the future.