Louisiana Redistricting: New Pres Numbers by CD

With the Louisiana redistricting map one of the first to emerge intact from the sausage-making process, it’s time to crunch the numbers and see just what kind of districts we wound up with. (Notice that I’m not saying the map is a done deal… the Obama DOJ might still weigh in and shake things up, as they could conceivably push for a second African-American plurality district under the VRA.) Our resident data guru, jeffmd, has sliced and diced the shapefiles on the state House’s website, overlaid that onto the VTDs available from the Census Bureau, matched the VTDs to 2008 and 2010 election results available from the Louisiana SoS website, and voila:

District Obama # McCain # Obama % McCain % Fayard % Dardenne % Melancon % Vitter %
LA-01 81,515 233,789 25.34 72.68 25.30 74.70 24.89 69.79
LA-02 235,554 81,703 73.36 25.44 73.01 26.99 70.38 24.72
LA-03 111,831 210,951 34.06 64.25 39.36 60.64 31.40 62.55
LA-04 126,899 187,020 39.94 58.86 45.78 54.22 36.29 57.54
LA-05 124,119 209,705 36.69 61.98 40.04 59.96 32.98 60.31
LA-06 103,071 225,094 30.90 67.49 33.04 66.96 32.45 62.02

The full precinct-by-precinct dataset, courtesy of Google Docs, is available here.

If you aren’t familiar with the contours of the new map, you can take a look here. In a nutshell, the 1st remains the New Orleans suburbs, the 2nd remains New Orleans proper (although now it reaches into Baton Rouge’s African-American neighborhoods as well), the 4th is still centered on Shreveport, the 5th is still Monroe and Alexandria, and the 6th is still centered on Baton Rouge (even if its core is now missing). The big difference is the 3rd, which now mostly occupies what used to be the 7th, across Lake Charles and Lafayette; the old 3rd, in Cajun country south of New Orleans, has been parceled out to the 1st, new 3rd/former 7th, and also the 6th and 2nd.

As you can see, the redistricting result is very, very likely to result in a 5-1 map. The friendliest district for Dems, after the 2nd, is now the Shreveport-based 4th, but even it didn’t even see Barack Obama hit 40%. That’s not much different from the current setup (where he did hit 40%); the old 6th was the friendliest for Dems, but barely more so (with 41% for Obama).

Greg Giroux has some other interesting tidbits available on how the 3rd district (which is now poised to become a battleground between incumbent GOPers Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry) got neatly dismantled: Boustany represents 575K of the 3rd’s residents, while Landry represents only 180K of them, a nearly 3:1 advantage for Boustany. Of the old 3rd, 29% of it wound up in LA-01, 28% in new LA-03, 24% in LA-06, and 18% in LA-02. (The Daily Kingfish has picked up on this, and speculates that Landry might be better off challenging Steve Scalise in the 1st instead.)  

38 thoughts on “Louisiana Redistricting: New Pres Numbers by CD”

  1. What will the DOJ do? Democrats last controlled the DOJ during redistricting in 1960. It looks like the only way to turn this 5-1 map into a 4-2 map will be if the DOJ pushes for a second minority district.

  2. The only option that seems to be on the table is a court challenge. Does Louisiana have the population needed for a 2nd VRA district? What are the demographic numbers for each district?

  3. It’s nothing but a racial gerrymander. I know they can argue they were trying to avoid retrogression, but really retrogression was unavoidable because of Hurricane Katrina related population loss. Regardless of partisan repercussions, I do think black voters should be packed like this map packs them.

    1. Rather or not black legislators would have voted for it had it not been in this shape does not change the fact that it is a racial gerrymander.

  4. The yellow district is black majority VAP.

    The green district is minority majority VAP.

    Every district is a coherent community of interest (except maybe the teal, which is leftovers). Unlike the proposed Republican map.

    The DOJ should fight for something like this.

    Republicans can’t complain. It’s 4R-2D. Only 3 years ago LA was 4R-3D with only 1 VRA district.

    Here the VRA creates an R+28 district in between 2 D+3’s. In a northern state the VRA is more likely to create a D+28 district in between 2 R+3’s.

  5. The VRA didn’t exist for the 1960s round of redistricting, so this is actually the first time ever that there will be a Democratic administration where the DOJ can actually affect the process.  

  6. Southern states that have to go through pre-clearance under the VRA have to do either two things: 1) take their maps straight to court to get approved or 2) submit the maps to the DOJ for a 60 day review to make sure that they comply with the VRA.  

  7. The population just might be there… But do y’all really want The DoJ to push for another minority-majority district? Because if they do, they may set precedent to do it again if there’s furor over Arizona and Nevada redistricting.

    (Btw, I love it how some folks here hate the VRA when they think it means Dems compete in fewer seats, then turn around and love it when it means an extra Dem seat can be created.)  

  8. I have a love-hate relationship with the VRA. I think its useful is some circumstances, but I also think that it limits Democratic opportunities in others. There isn’t anything wrong with that position.

  9. (Btw, I love it how some folks here hate the VRA when they think it means Dems compete in fewer seats, then turn around and love it when it means an extra Dem seat can be created.)

    Is called politics. When it helps us, great. When it hurts us, horrible. We didn’t make these rules, but we do have to play by them, so might as well use them to achieve whatever advantage we can.

  10. In some states, especially in the South/Appalachia, I think there’s a clear need since white voters vote monolithically. I don’t see that in Nevada, but it could be argued for in Arizona, only w/r/t Hispanics instead of African Americans.  In Arizona, I think the only two places it doesn’t follow are the two university districts.  There may be whites in the first willing to vote Democratic, but it’s probably a smaller number.

    Secondly, I think there’s a difference between being pro-VRA and being friendly to packing schemes.  LA-02, for example, is 62-63% AA, which may be necessary for a 50% actual voting percentage but seems to me to be a reach…ditto the two Maryland districts and a few others.

  11. varies by region for minority voters. A 30% black district in New York could be a great boon for their electoral interests. In Louisiana, it would be useless.  

  12. In Louisiana it would not be useless. First of all, a 30% AA seat is not VRA. Secondly, a second VRA (meaning 50.00%+ VAP AA) district in Louisiana would most certainly be good for the substantial AA minority there.

  13. But you still raise a good point that speaks to the monolithic voting of whites in the south compared to elsewhere.  

  14. in the midst of running for re-election so we end up with the combination of factors where we can be be the least aggressive about it.  Wouldn’t be surprised if only TX was required to add VRA districts.

  15. The reason why Lt. Gov. Bryant and some other key members of the MS GOP has come out against the VRA is because now that there’s a Democratic President, they won’t be allowed to get away with cracking the hell out of minority-dominated areas in their state legislative maps nearly as much as they could under a Republican president.

    I read online that an anonymous MS GOP official says that he fears Obama is going to “seek racially-motivated revenge” on MS.  Such morons.

  16. which is why it’s almost assuredly useless in a state like LA.  (Could do NOLA 30% and count on white liberals maybe with making a neighboring 50% district easily enough.)

  17. Here in Nevada, even some Latino legislators think it’s a ploy by Republicans to create a hyper-Democratic vote sink.

    Other Latino leaders worry it would have the effect of packing all of Southern Nevada’s Latino voters into just one district. Andres Ramirez, vice chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Hispanic Caucus, says such a plan could backfire.

    “If all the Hispanics are packed into one district, then the other three congressional districts that have elected officials would not in essence have to campaign, or worry, or represent the interests of that community,” Ramirez said.

    Redistricting is by nature a partisan endeavor. Nevada’s Latinos have voted mostly Democrat in the past, and were key to re-electing Senate Majority leader Harry Reid. Creating one very Latino, very Democratic district, would likely benefit Republicans by making the remaining districts more amenable to GOP candidates. Perhaps it is not surprising then that Republicans have embraced the idea of a Latino district.

    “It’s supposed to be one person one vote. Everybody’s vote is supposed to kinda count for the same,” said Mark Amodei, chairman of the Nevada Republican Party. “If you have got one in four people of Hispanic heritage in the state, then you probably ought to give them a chance to elect their folks as one of the four congressional representatives.”

    Amodei admitted his party failed to court Nevada’s Latinos adequately in past elections. But he said that will change in 2012.

    “Perhaps we weren’t as quick on the uptake on some of this stuff in the past, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t fix that in the future, so we are endeavoring to do that,” Amodei said.

    Meanwhile, Hispanic Democratic legislators have gone on the offensive, arguing that the Republicans’ true intention is not to empower Latinos, but to dilute the voice of minority voters by packing them into just one district.

    “For several years now the Republican Party hasn’t had a lot of interest in the Latino community,” said state senator Mo Denis, who heads the Hispanic Legislative Caucus. “With all the rhetoric – the-anti immigrant – that type of rhetoric that has come about, now all of a sudden they are interested in the Latino community. And it just happens to be at a time when we are doing redistricting.”

    There seems to be strong consensus here that there will be a VRA coalition district with a Latino plurality, but it would take a whole lot of “creative drawing” to get a Latino VAP majority… And that would mean the other seats would get many more white Republicans.  

  18. But they must be concerned about what DoJ decides to do with Louisiana, along with the Arizona Dems. They’re also advocating against “packing”, instead pushing the IRC to draw more competitive districts. In both states, the State Dem Parties have to walk a fine line of arguing for “fair districts” while not angering Latino advocacy groups over shunning talk of more Latino majority VAP districts.

    It may be a moot issue anyway, since it’s unclear Arizona has the population for a 3rd Latino VRA seat, and Nevada’s Latino population may just be too dispersed to allow for a logical Latino VRA seat. Still, the GOP in both states is praying for nasty court battles over it, and it may finally be up to the judges to decide if Arizona and Nevada have to just suck it up and draw the districts.

  19. The white suburbs in Jefferson Parish are economically attached to NO, and rural black precincts 50 miles away, or Baton Rouge, aren’t. Also that frees up enough black population to enable a second black VRA district.

  20. But it still irks me. Yes, I admit, I do have more than a bit of “goo-goo” (what my old Cali friends call the Common Cause type “good government lovers”) in me, so I usually look at issues more along the lines of whether or not something is good policy than who “wins” politically from it.

    And besides, as I say below, I really think folks wishing for a DoJ challenge here should be careful what they wish for. While there may be a fairly strong case here for a 2nd African-American VRA seat in Louisiana, that might set precedent for more Latino VRA seats in Arizona & Nevada (where AZ Dems want more competitive seats, and NV Dems want another Likely/Safe Dem seat) should this succeed.

  21. DOJ pre-clearance has no precedent value whatsoever. Furthermore, the only places where the DOJ has pre-clearance authority are places where more VRA districts will help us rather than hurt us. Nevada doesn’t matter…

  22. I’m talking about actual litigation. If there’s a law suit over Louisiana, it will probably empower groups in Arizona & Nevada eager to sue for more Latino VRA seats. I’ve talked to some local community leaders here in Vegas, and they really want to see a Latino VAP majority seat here. And even though Dem legislators aren’t pursuing that, a few have even expressed interest in suing for a Latino VAP majority seat.

    And in Arizona, similar drama is occurring over how the IRC draws the new AZ-09 district. Some Latino groups want another Latino VAP majority seat (in addition to AZ-04, and now AZ-07 as well), but the state Dem Party has instead called for more competitive districts. It’s split Latino community leaders there, and some there have also threatened law suits over it. (And in Arizona’s case, it’s already happened. There were several law suits flying after 2001 redistricting.)

  23. I’m kinda sick of hearing this term thrown around here for the LA-02. It had to be down. Black legislators would not have allowed Republicans to make LA-02 down to a 50% VAP Black district. In fact, that same district, down to every precinct, appeared in all but two of the Democratic proposals, including one by African-American Sen. Lydia Jackson.  

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