INCUMBENT: Dale Erdey (Republican)
DESCRIPTION: Senate District 13 is located in the Florida Parishes and includes parts of three parishes: its core (where 86% of the voters live) is in the portions of Livingston Parish mostly north of I-12. The district also crosses the Magnolia Bridge to pick up two Central precincts in East Baton Rouge Parish, while at the opposite end of the district, an area of Tangipahoa Parish along LA 22 known as “Pumpkin Center” is also in the district.
RED/BLUE RATING (using 2008, 2012, and 2014 elections): 83% Republican
JMCEL’s SUMMARY: In East Baton Rouge, Florida Boulevard was once a political dividing line for its white voter population, as the white collar areas were generally south of that major thoroughfare and consistently favored Republicans. North of Florida Boulevard was a more blue collar area, with more of a populist Democratic tone to its politics. That began to change two decades ago, as most of the blue collar population has left East Baton Rouge Parish, and their political preferences have changed to staunch Republican, although with more of an emphasis on social issues.
This political change, as well as gradual numerical dominance of Republicans in both houses of the legislature, is best illustrated by the changing politics of Senate District 13.
Senate District 13 was once located in the northern portions of East Baton Rouge Parish, but after the 1981 reapportionment, it stretched from Baker all the way to Hammond. With each successive reapportionment, it has steadily moved out of East Baton Rouge Parish and more into Livingston Parish to the point that after the 2011 reapportionment, it only has two precincts in East Baton Rouge, while over 85% of the district vote is cast in Livingston.
Politically, the district always voted Republican at the top of the ballot, while preferring Democrats at the legislative level. That abruptly changed in 1995, when a longtime Democratic incumbent was defeated for re-election, and several Democratic-held House seats in the area switched to Republican as well. Two more Republicans have been elected to represent the district since 1995, and the current incumbent is Dale Erdey, who served in the House for two terms and sought the open seat in 2007 and was elected without opposition when no one qualified to run against him. He was comfortably re-elected with 64% of the vote in 2011, and is allowed to serve one more term. In a district this heavily Republican (86% voted for Mitt Romney, while Bill Cassidy got 85% of the vote), Senator Erdey’s only conceivable threat to re-election would come from intra party opposition.