Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 71

Incumbent – J. Rogers Pope (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

House District 71

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 18104 (85%) 14248 (84%)
Barack Obama (D) 2785 (13%) 2334 (14%)
Others 400 (2%) 294 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 5956 (28%) 4583 (28%)
John Kennedy (R) 14446 (69%) 11619 (70%)
Others 507 (2%) 357 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 11339 (77%) 9020 (77%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 2445 (17%) 1982 (17%)
Others 868 (6%) 678 (6%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 11465 (78%) 9164 (78%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 3239 (22%) 2557 (22%)

Current District

District 71 is located in the heart of Livingston Parish and is a good illustration of the effects of suburbanization on a formerly populist Democratic constituency. For years, this has been a Livingston Parish district, although heavy suburban growth has pared the district back to the point that it only includes a band of territory roughly between Highway 190 and I-12 from Denham Springs to Livingston.

Demographically, this is a district with a miniscule 5% black voter registration (one of the lowest figures in the entire state), and with its rapid suburban growth, it has become heavily Republican. Even with a strong Democratic turnout in 2008 (as well as the benefits of incumbency), two term Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu could only get 28% of the vote here.

This changeover to the Republican Party also was reflected in legislative elections here. Democrat Julius Blount represented the district from 1972 to 1988. When he retired, a closely fought election ensued to replace him, and a Republican missed making the runoff by 100 votes. The victor, Democrat Bernard Carrier, served for two terms, but was upset in the 1995 GOP tidal wave that brought Republican representation to the Florida Parishes outside of Baton Rouge for the first time.

The victor in that closely fought 1995 race was Republican Clo Fontenot, who received 52%. He only served for a term, as there was a vacant senate seat in 1999. In the race to succeed Rep. Fontenot, Republican Dale Erdey defeated a Democratic attorney in the runoff with 61%. Erdey served for two terms until Fontenot chose not to run again in 2007. Erdey immediately jumped into the senate race and was elected without opposition.

There was another open seat race in 2007, but as an illustration of how much the Democrats’ fortunes have changed in Livingston Parish, the lone Democrat in the race finished last with 11% of the vote (five candidates ran). Former Livingston Parish Superintendent of Schools J. Rogers Pope was elected in the runoff with 52% of the vote, and is allowed to serve two more terms. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) He was unopposed in 2011.

New District

In the Florida Parishes, the challenge presented by redistricting was where to draw the new districts. District 71 had 27% more population than needed for a new district, and was significantly pared back. Nearly all territory east of Juban Road was removed, although the precincts in Walker between I-12 and US 190 were kept. The district now is centered on Denham Springs and Walker, and is still very heavily Republican. Rep. Pope or any other Republican shouldn’t have any problems getting elected from this district.