Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 45

Incumbent – Joel Robideaux (R – Term Limited in 2015)

District Map

House District 45

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 14564 (72%) 13729 (72%)
Barack Obama (D) 5251 (26%) 5045 (26%)
Others 351 (2%) 352 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 7483 (38%) 7078 (38%)
John Kennedy (R) 11571 (59%) 11021 (59%)
Others 611 (3%) 572 (3%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 9431 (70%) 8961 (69%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 3255 (24%) 3134 (24%)
Others 881 (6%) 823 (6%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 9221 (69%) 8793 (69%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 4222 (31%) 4023 (31%)

Current District

Lafayette is one part of Louisiana that can usually be counted to support Republicans in contested races due to the presence of the oil industry, and its most Republican neighborhoods are located south of downtown.

House District 45 contains a swath of southwest Lafayette along Johnston Street from downtown all the way to the Vermillion Parish line. This is a district with a low 11% black voter registration (it was 8% a decade ago) that can be counted on the support Republicans in contested statewide elections by respectable margins.

Unlike other districts in the area, however, Republicans have not yet been able to elect one of their own to the seat. Between 1983 and 1988, this was the district that launched the political career of former Governor Kathleen Blanco. She resigned in 1988 after her election that fall to the Public Service Commission, and in the open seat race in early 1989, Jerry Luke LeBlanc (whose father served before Blanco in this seat) was easily elected in the runoff, and served without opposition until his resignation in 2004 – former Governor Blanco tapped him to be Commissioner of Administration.

There was a special election in 2005 to succeed Rep. LeBlanc, and despite the fact that the Republican candidates in the race garnered 62% of the primary vote, Independent Joel Robideaux defeated a Republican in the runoff with 55% of the vote, carrying all but 5 precincts in the district.

(UPDATED 9/1/2011) It is not typical for Independents to get elected in Louisiana, especially given recent partisan trends. Even though Rep. Robideaux was unopposed in 2007, he decided to switch to the Republican Party the week before qualifying. He is allowed to serve one more term.

New District

The Lafayette area had robust population growth, and District 45 was no exception. However, since this district contains more of the settled parts of town, it was only 7% above the population of an “ideal” district. The district had to be pared back, although this was easily accomplished: three precincts south of Ridge Road were given up to House District 31 (represented by Republican Nancy Landry), while District 45 picked up two precincts immediately south of Scott from District 31. These changes had no political impact, although the black voter registration decreased from 11 to 10%. (UPDATED 9/1/2011) The district’s history of re-electing incumbents means that Rep. Robideaux probably has a safe seat, especially since he decided to switch to the Republican Party in 2011.