Election Returns Tonight: LA-HD1, LA-HD4, LA-HD40

Special open primaries for the remainder of the terms to end in November for LA-HD1, LA-HD4 and LA-HD40 have been held today.  Polls close at 8pm CST in Louisiana, and returns should be available immediately thereafter.

Here is how the ballot appears for all three races:

State Representative, 1st Representative District
0 of 31 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Michael Page Boyter, R –
0  0% Richard “Richie” Hollier, D –
0  0% Ruth W. Johnston, D –
0  0% “Jim” Morris, R –
0  0% Marc Weddleton, R –

State Representative, 4th Representative District
0 of 26 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Larry Ferdinand, D –
0  0% Reginald Johnson, D –
0  0% Calvin “Ben” Lester, Jr., D –
0  0% Patrick C. Williams, D –

State Representative, 40th Representative District
0 of 43 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% “Jim” Darby, D –
0  0% “Chris” Declouette, D –
0  0% Elbert Lee Guillory, D –
0  0% “Bradford” Jackson, N –
0  0% Roderick “Rod” James, D –
0  0% Ledricka Johnson, D –

LA-HD4 and LA-HD40 are seats guaranteed for Louisiana Democrats.  LA-HD4 is centered around Shreveport, and it extends into some of the more rural portions of Caddo Parish.  A district with an African-American majority, LA-HD4 was previously held by Cedric Glover, who is now the first African-American Mayor of Shreveport.  Larry Ferdinand and Patrick Williams, who received the endorsement of the Shreveport Times, the major local newspaper, are considered the favorites in this race, and I imagine they will face each other in a runoff.  Whoever wins LA-HD4 will hold this seat in November, as Democrats outnumber Republicans in this district by very high numbers.

LA-HD40 is also guaranteed for the Democrats.  This seat, centered around Opelousas in St. Landry Parish, was previously held by Don Cravins, Jr., who ran for and won the Louisiana Senate seat vacated by his father, Don Cravins, Sr., who is now Mayor of Opelousas.  This district is both an African-American and Democratic majority district, and whoever wins it will most probably hold it in November.  The Daily World, the major local newspaper, chose not to endorse any of the six candidates.  Turnout for this election is approximately 16%, and reporters are anticipating a runoff between two of the six candidates.

LA-HD1, however, is not guaranteed for the Democrats.  Although it was previously held by a Democrat named Roy “Hoppy” Hopkins, who recently died of cancer, this open seat can be won by either party.  Indeed, the district has a tendency to vote for Republicans in federal races: John Kerry only received 32.28% of the vote in 2004; Kathleen Blanco received 44.15% of the vote in 2003; and Mary Landrieu received approximately 45.34% of the vote in 2002.  A populist Democrat who understand agricultural and infrastructural issues can win in this district that includes rural Caddo and Bossier Parishes, but it will be a difficult seat for Democrats to hold in November. 

Richie Hollier, a Democrat who is running for office for the first time, has a strong grasp of the issues facing this district, and he has traveled throughout the district in order to hear its constituents’ needs.  Ruth Johnston, an Oil City resident who has served as Justice for the Peace, an elected office, for 18 years, is a former restaurant owner who desires to make government and the legislative process more accessible to the residents of the first district.  Both of these Democrats will face stiff competition from “Jim” Morris, a Caddo Parish Commissioner, who has received key endorsements from other Republicans in the district as well as the endorsement of the Shreveport Times, the major local newspaper.  Morris believes problems with Louisiana’s public school system will be solved with the introduction of prayer into the classroom, which leads me to wonder how an editorial board can endorse his candidacy in the open primary.  The other Republicans are not considered viable: Marc Weddleton just moved to the area two years ago, and Boyter is a regular gadfly whose platform is marijuana rights.

Turnout for LA-HD1 has been very low: only 100 ballots were cast during the early voting period in all of Caddo Parish, which also includes the race for the open seat of LA-HD4.  Moreover, Caddo and neighboring DeSoto Parish have been under a tornado watch all afternoon.  And while one would believe this would depress turnout, some claim it may increase it in some areas.  But turnout overall has varied from 2% to 16%.

LA-HD1 is what I consider to be a bellwether race.  If we hold it, we will hold the Louisiana House in November.  If we lose it, then we need to prepare ourselves for the fight of our political lives in November.  Watch the returns of this race, as this race will determine how hard Louisiana Democrats will have to fight if they want to hold on to their majorities in the state legislature.  And if we lose LA-HD1, then capturing LA-HD94, the special election for which will be held on 10 March, will be mandatory.  That can be done by supporting Deborah Langhoff.

The returns should be available at 8:30pm CST.

2007 – Louisiana House of Representatives

National and local bloggers as well as a local political scientist, who is, in fact, a Republican operative, have already discussed the ineluctable loss of a US Congressional seat in Louisiana, and they have noted how the GOP is ready to pounce on a state Democratic Party made vulnerable by a national and political disaster.  While I will not express my disgust with the Republicans’ vacuous cynicism and the egregious opportunism of some members of the Louisiana GOP, I will focus on one remedy to this increasingly dire situation: the 2007 elections for every seat in the Louisiana Legislature.

The Louisiana House of Representatives is comprised of 105 seats.  The Democrats presently enjoy a strong majority of 60 seats in the House, while the Republicans and an Independent occupy 41 seats and one seat respectively.  3 seats are currently vacant.  This majority, however, is threatened by many factors, one of which are the term limits that have recently been imposed on all Louisiana legislators: 30 Democrats and 16 Republicans must abandon their seats in 2007.  Compounding the dilemma Louisiana Democrats will face when trying to retain all these open seats is the organization the Republican Party has already consolidated in preparation for the 2007 elections.  Republicans are “on the march in Louisiana,” crows John Maginnis, another Republican operative who poses as an objective news analyst and as a disinterested political commentator for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and other Louisiana newspapers.  While his confidence is somewhat founded, it is also premature, especially as the field for the 2007 legislative races has not yet assumed a discernable shape. 

But Maginnis and the people for whom he serves as a paid pamphleteer do have reason to be optimistic.  For out of the 60 Louisiana Democrats presently in the House, only 30 are eligible for reelection.  And even worse, four of the thirty Democratic incumbents will most probably have to stave off spirited Republican challenges for thier seats in 2007. 

Complicating this already grim predicament are the 30 open seats Democrats must try to retain, 16 of which could very well fall to the Republicans if they are not amply defended.  While two of the sixteen Republican open seats can be claimed by strong Democratic challengers, Republicans can win the House if they wage a coordinated campaign across the state.  Indeed, Democrats are only guaranteed 40 seats in the 2007 election, 13 short of the 53 needed to claim the majority of their chamber.  And even if they win all three of the vacant seats up for election on 24 FEB 2007, they will still be 10 seats short after the November 2007 runoffs.  If Louisiana Democrats and the online activists who should help them do not plan for the imminent Republican onslaught as John Maginnis describes it in advance, their ability to redraw the lines of US House seats to the advantage of Democratic incumbents after the 2010 census will be compromised.

Seats located in parishes that have voted for Democrats running for federal office statewide in 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2004 with incumbents unencumbered by term limits who have received little to no opposition in the last two election cycles are seats I consider guaranteed for the Democratic Party.  I also consider seats where Republicans have not competed in open seat primaries safe for the Democrats.  The maps located on this webpage will help you determine the exact location of these districts.  Seat numbers are printed in the order of Democratic strength, the weakest of which is typed last.


61 – Michael L. Jackson (D), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 1999

101 – Cedric L. Richmond (D), Orleans Parish, elected 1999

102 – Jeffrey “Jeff” J. Arnold (D), Orleans, elected 2002

63 – Avon R. Honey (D), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 2002

100 – Austin J. Badon, Jr. (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

97 – Jean-Paul L. Morrell (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2006

87 – Terrell L. Harris (D), Jefferson Parish, elected 2005

18 – Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. (D), Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana Parishes, elected 1999

21 – John F. “Andy” Anders (D), Concordia, East Carroll, Madison and Tensas Parishes, elected 2006

51 – Carla Blanchard Dartez (D), Assumption, St. Mary and Terrebonne Parishes, elected 1999

53 – Damon J. Baldone (D), Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, elected 2001

75 – Harold L. Ritchie (D), St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, elected 2003

10 – Jean M. Doerge (D), Webster Parish, elected 1998

60 – Karen Gaudet St. Germain (D), Ascension, Assumption, Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes, elected 2003

99 – Charmaine L. Marchand (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

96 – Juan A. LaFonta (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2005

91 – Jalila Jefferson-Bullock (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

29 – Regina Ashford Barrow (D), East Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge Parishes, elected 2005

93 – Karen R. Carter (D), Orleans Parish, elected 1999

13 – James R. “Jim” Fannin (D), Bienville, Jackson, Ouachita and Winn Parishes, elected 2003

11 – Richard “Rick” Gallot, Jr. (D), Bienville, Lincoln and Claiborne Parishes, elected 2000

23 – T. Taylor Townsend (D), Natchitoches and Winn Parishes, elected 1999

38 – Kenneth Eric LaFleur (D), Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes, elected 1999

2 – Roy A. Burrell (D), Bossier and Caddo Parishes, elected 2003

28 – Monica H. Walker (D), Avoyelles Parish, elected 2003

56 – Gary L. Smith, Jr. (D), St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes, elected 1999

26 seats

4 Democratic and 9 Republican incumbents presently occupy seats representing competitive districts.  These incumbents have received strong competition from an opposing party in an open primary, or they were forced to engage in very competitive runoffs against a member of the opposing party during the last two election cycles.  Some Republican incumbents, especially Nita Hutter and Ernest Wooton, are considered vulnerable as a result of demographic shifts in their districts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Because Democrats may lose many of their open seats, it is to their advantage to wage vigorous challenges against Republicans who hold competitive seats in 2007, especially those Republicans who represent parishes with Democratic leanings.  Seat numbers are presented in order of Democratic strength, the weakest seat for Democrats typed last.  The lone Independent seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives is a competitive seat vulnerable to a Republican takeover.  Unfortunately, we did not run a candidate in the open primary for this seat during the 2004 special election.


98 – Cheryl Artise Gray (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

27 – Rick L. Farrar (D), Rapides Parish, elected 1991 and 1999

22 – Billy R. Chandler (D), Grant, LaSalle, Rapides and Winn Parishes, elected 2006

41 – Mickey James Guillory (D), Acadia, Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes, elected 2003

105 – Ernest D. Wooton (R), Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Charles Parishes, elected 1999, switched from D to R in 2006

54 – Loulan J. Pitre, Jr. (R), Jefferson and Lafourche Parishes, elected 1999

104 – Nita Hutter (R),  St. Bernard Parish, elected 2000

62 – Thomas H. “Tom” McVea (R), East Baton Rouge, Tangipahoa, West Feliciana, East Feliciana, Livingston and St. Helena Parishes, elected 2000

35 – Brett Frank Geymann (R), Calcasieu and Beauregard Parishes, elected 2003

88 – M. J. “Mert” Smiley, Jr. (R), Ascension and Livingston Parishes, elected 2003

71 – Dale M. Erdey (R), Livingston Parish, elected 1999

59 – Eddie J. Lambert (R), Ascension Parish, elected 2003

52 – Gordon E. Dove, Sr. (R), Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, elected 2003

31 – Donald “Mark” Don Trahan (R), Lafayette and Vermilion Parishes, elected 2003

45 – Joel C. Robideaux (I), Lafayette Parish, elected 2004

15 seats

15 incumbent Republicans who are unencumbered with lerm limits are considered safe in 2007, but every single one of these seats must be challenged.  The most Republican district is typed last. 


16 – Kay Kellogg Katz (R), Ouachita Parish, elected 1999

43 – Ernest J. Alexander (R), Lafayette Parish, elected 1999

12 – Hollis Dawns (R), Lincoln and Union Parishes, elected 2003

36 – E. “Chuck” Kleckley (R), Calcasieu Parish, elected 2005

66 – Hunter V. Greene (R), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 2005

69 – Gary J. Beard (R), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 2001

81 – John LaBruzzo (R), Jefferson Parish, elected 2003

6 – Mike Powell (R), Bossier and Caddo Parishes, elected 2003

64 – Mack A. “Bodi” White, Jr. (R), East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes, elected 2003

89 – Timothy G. “Tim” Burns (R), St. Tammany Parish, elected 2003

86 – Jim Tucker (R), Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, elected 2001

8 – Jane H. Smith (R), Bossier Parish, elected 1999

76 – A. G. Crowe (R), St. Tammany Parish, elected 1999

74 – Michael G. Strain (R), St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes, elected 1999

5 – Wayne Wadell (R), Caddo Parrish, elected 1997

15 seats

30 Democrats and 16 Republicans must retire in 2008, leaving 46 open seats behind them.  14 seats are safe for Democrats, while 12 are safe for Republicans.  Of the 20 open seats I consider competitive, 16 are presently held by Democrats.  The weakest of these safe Democratic seats is typed last.


95(Heaton, D) – Orleans Parish

26(Curtis, D) – Rapides Parish

44(Pierre, D) – Lafayette Parish

17(Hunter, D) – Ouachita Parish

57(Faucheux, D) – St. James and St. John the Baptist Parishes

46(Durand, D) – St. Martin Parish

47(Frith, D) – Cameron and Vermilion Parishes

55(Triche, D) – Lafourche Parish

34(Guillory, D) – Calcasieu Parish

67(Dorsey, D) – East Baton Rouge Parish

39(Baudoin, D) – Lafayette, St. Landry and St. Martin Parishes

20(Kenney, D) – Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin and Tensas Parishes

3(Baylor, D) – Caddo Parish

58(Quezaire, D) – Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, St. James and St. John Parishes

14 seats

Louisiana Democrats have the tall order of defending 16 of the following 20 competitive open seats.  One Republican seat, however, can be won by a Democrat.  Emile “Peppi” Bruneau, an Orleans Parish Republican who fashions himself as a “fiscal conversative,” has occupied the 94th seat since 1974.  According to Louisiana Republican insiders, Bruneau may retire within the next month, opening the seat for a special election to be held on 31 March, the day of the election for New Orleans’s municipal judges.  Although Bruneau will endeavor to hand this seat to his son with lobbyist money from Baton Rouge, New Orleans Democrats can derail this effort and win this seat, especially as Republican voters from Lakeview have yet to return and rebuild.  Shelley Stephenson Midura, whose City Council district is similar in shape to that of Bruneau’s House district, won her seat as a Democrat during the New Orleans municipal elections last year.  If Orleans Parish Democrats can find a Democrat from Lakeview to run an aggressive grassroots campaign similar to that of Midura, we can win this seat and add to our majority.  Does former New Orleans mayoral candidate Virginia Boulet want a Louisiana House seat?  The least likely seat to be one by a Democrat is typed last.


83(Alario, D) – Jefferson Parish

84(Damico, D) – Jefferson Parish

94(Bruneau, R) – Orleans Parish (may retire in time for 31March election)

19(Thompson, D) – East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland and West Carroll Parishes

72(Carter, D) – East Feliciana, Tangipahoa, West Feliciana and St. Helena Parishes

103(Odinet, D) – Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes

42(Pinac, D) – Acadia and Lafayette Parishes

32(Hill, D) – Allen, Beauregard and Vernon Parishes

24(Salter, D) – DeSoto, Red River, Sabine and Vernon Parishes

70(Crane, R) – East Baton Rouge Parish

14(McDonald, D) – East Caroll, Morehouse, Ouachita, West Carroll

49(Hebert, D) – Iberia and Vermilion Parishes

25(DeWitt, D) – Rapides and Vernon Parishes

50(Smith, D) – Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary Parishes

65(Kennard, R) – East Baton Rouge Parish

92(Ansardi, D) – Jefferson Parish

48(Romero, D) – Iberia Parish

7(Bruce, D) – Caddo and DeSoto Parishes

30(Smith, D) – Beauregard and Vernon Parishes

73(Powell, R) – Tangipahoa Parish

20 seats

All of the following safe Republican open seats must be challenged.  The weakest Democratic opportunity is typed last.


15(Walsworth, R) – Ouachita Parish

68(Daniel, R) – East Baton Rouge Parish

33(Johns, R) – Beauregard and Calcasieu Parishes

82(Scalise, R) – Jefferson and Orleans Parishes

37(Moorish, R) – Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis Parishes

85(Toomy,R) – Jefferson Parish

79(Martiny, R) – Jefferson Parish

9(Montgomery, R) – Bossier Parish

80(Lancaster, R) – Jefferson Parish

78(Bowler, R) – Jefferson Parish

90(Schneider, R) – St. Tammany Parish

77(Winston, R) – St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes

20 seats

Open primaries will be held for the three vacant House seats on 24 February 2007.  2 of these vacant seats are safe Democratic seats, while one of them is a competitive seat.  Here is how the ballot for these seats will appear:

State Representative, 1st Representative District
0 of 31 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Michael Page Boyter, R –
0  0% Richard “Richie” Hollier, D –
0  0% Ruth W. Johnston, D –
0  0% “Jim” Morris, R –
0  0% Marc Weddleton, R –

State Representative, 4th Representative District
0 of 26 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Larry Ferdinand, D –
0  0% Reginald Johnson, D –
0  0% Calvin “Ben” Lester, Jr., D –
0  0% Patrick C. Williams, D –

State Representative, 40th Representative District
0 of 43 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% “Jim” Darby, D –
0  0% “Chris” Declouette, D –
0  0% Elbert Lee Guillory, D –
0  0% “Bradford” Jackson, N –
0  0% Roderick “Rod” James, D –
0  0% Ledricka Johnson, D –

The 40th district seat, located in Opelousas, St. Landry Parish, is the safest Democratic seat with an election on 24 Feb, even if there is a candidate not affiliated with the Democratic Party on the ballot.  The 4th district seat in Shreveport is guaranteed for the Democrats, as only Democrats are on the open primary ballot.  But the 1st district ballot is somewhat worrisome.  Previously held by a Democrat, Rep. Hoppy Hopkins, who recently died of cancer, this is a competitive seat for Republicans: notice how they have three Republicans on the ballot.  Thankfully, we have only two Democrats on the ballot, giving us a chance to at least have one Democrat make the runoff, as Republicans will split their vote between three candidates.  Ruth Johnston, former restaurant owner and populist Justice of the Peace from Oil City, Louisiana (population 1,188), is the strongest Democratic candidate, although she does not have a website.  The other Democratic candidate, Richie Hollier, also lacks a website, and I hope Louisiana Democrats will begin to create campaign websites in the future, for some Republicans, especially those who fashion themselves as so many mindless clones of a David Vitter or a Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, already have. 

Beating Caddo Parish Commissioner Jim Morris in the first distrcit race on 27 FEB will be difficult, even if “Psycho Santa” is tarring the Republican brand with his eccentric marijuana rights platform .  Given the shape of this first district race, I hope you understand why I am so worried about 2007:  Republicans are fielding their best candidates for competitive seats, and Louisiana Democrats believe they can retain their fragile majorities without advanced infrastructure or Internet outreach.  This must change immeidately, and I plan on contacting Chris Whittington at the Louisiana Democratic Party office in Baton Rouge about this problem. 

Although I plan to contact local officials, I also plan to write the DLCC.  We can retain our majority in the Louisiana House of Representatives, but it will take some money, some time and some effort at recruitment.  It will have its dividends, however, as we will control redistrcting in 2010 after setting an overly confident Louisiana GOP to rout.  What better way to prepare Louisiana to vote for a Democratic Presidential candidate than to humiliate their state GOP party organization in a year when they expect to sweep legislative and executive offices throughout the state?

Expect a diary on LA-HD104 once Emile “Peppi” Bruneau’s retirement is confirmed.  This is a race Democrats can and must win before the October 2007 showdown.  And because the netroots was already involved in New Orleans politics with Karen Carter’s bid to oust Bill Jefferson, I imagine a residual infrastructure still exists in order to support this important effort.


By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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