The one blue seat is the 2nd District, which stretches from the New Orleans space west to Baton Rouge. Republican mapmakers drew this constituency to soak up as many African American voters as attainable, and Biden’s 75-23 win was virtually equivalent to Clinton’s 75-22 efficiency. A number of candidates are competing in next month’s all-party primary to succeed former Rep. Cedric Richmond, who resigned in January to take a put up within the Biden White Home, and there’s no query that the eventual winner might be a Democrat.
Louisiana has at all times had a district anchored by New Orleans, and Democrats have held it since the 1890 election—with one very uncommon exception slightly greater than a decade in the past. In 2008, Democratic Rep. Invoice Jefferson misplaced reelection to Republican Joseph Cao in an enormous upset due to a confluence of scandal, a serious change in election regulation, and a hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast.
Maybe most significantly, Jefferson was underneath indictment on corruption costs after he was filmed allegedly taking $100,000 in marked money from a authorities informant, $90,000 of which was later found in his freezer. For a time, although, it appeared like Jefferson’s electoral profession would proceed regardless of the scandal. The state briefly deserted its all-party primaries for congressional races in 2008 and 2010 and switched to the kind of partisan primary-plus-runoff system that’s utilized in neighboring Southern states. Jefferson received the primary spherical of the first with a 25% plurality, and he prevailed in the runoff 57-43.
However timing is every thing in politics, and occasions outdoors of Jefferson’s management dramatically altered the political calendar in Cao’s favor. The first was initially set for early September, however the state postponed the contest for a month when Hurricane Gustav threatened the Gulf Coast on the finish of August. (The storm additionally led to the cancelation of the first night of the Republican Nationwide Conference.) Major runoffs as a substitute came about on Election Day in November, with the overall election for these races pushed off till December.
Sadly for Jefferson, his contest was a type of affected. The congressman received the runoff as Barack Obama was carrying his seat 74-25, however he nonetheless wanted to fend off Cao in December. Turnout would have virtually actually dropped it doesn’t matter what, however the state’s new election guidelines doubtless led many Democratic voters to mistakenly imagine that they’d already reelected Jefferson in November after they’d solely renominated him. Different voters who would possibly in any other case have voted Democratic additionally stayed residence, and even backed Cao out of disgust for the incumbent.
Nonetheless, it was an enormous shock when Cao defeated Jefferson 50-47, a victory that made him the first Vietnamese American to ever serve in Congress. Republicans had been thrilled about their pickup after a second brutal cycle in a row, with Minority Chief John Boehner memorably putting out a memo afterwards proclaiming, “The longer term is Cao.” Jefferson himself was convicted the following yr and started serving a 13-year sentence in 2012, although he ended up leaving prison in late 2017.
Cao, in the meantime, struggled to repeat his shock win in opposition to a stronger opponent. Whereas Republicans loved a really robust election cycle in 2010, the 2nd reverted to kind when state Rep. Cedric Richmond, who had unsuccessfully challenged Jefferson within the 2008 major, unseated Cao 65-33. That victory restored the 2nd District’s standing as a safely blue seat, and even with Richmond’s departure for a job within the Biden White Home, that’s not going to alter in subsequent month’s particular.
The opposite March 20 particular will happen within the fifth District to succeed Republican Luke Letlow, who died from issues from the coronavirus simply weeks after he received an open seat race in opposition to a fellow Republican however earlier than he might be sworn in. This seat, which incorporates Monroe and Alexandria within the central a part of the state, backed Trump 64-34, and Republicans ought to have little hassle maintaining it.
This space, although, did ship a Democrat to the Home underneath the state’s earlier congressional map in 2002, however Group Blue’s maintain proved to be very temporary. State Rep. Rodney Alexander won an open seat race 50.3-49.7 that yr, and he regarded like he’d be some of the susceptible members of the Democratic caucus in 2004. Alexander filed to run for reelection as a Democrat that yr, however he refiled as a Republican two days later―on the ultimate day of the candidate qualifying interval.
The congressman’s former celebration was infuriated, however Democrats had been by no means capable of take revenge. The incumbent received his 2004 race, in addition to his subsequent 4 campaigns, with none hassle. Alexander resigned in 2013 to take a place in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration, and, regardless of a high-profile scandal surrounding his immediate successor, Group Pink has at all times simply held the seat.
Louisiana Republicans had management of the redistricting course of in 2011 for the primary time in dwelling reminiscence, however Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards might be able to block them from passing one other gerrymander. The legislature has only ever overridden two gubernatorial vetoes in additional than two centuries of statehood (the final was in 1993), and whereas Republicans have the two-thirds majority essential to defy Edwards within the state Senate, they don’t have fairly the numbers on their very own within the Home.
That’s as a result of, whereas Republicans outnumber Democrats 68-35 in the lower chamber, the Home crucially additionally comprises two independents who typically vote with the minority celebration. Which means that, if no seats change arms earlier than redistricting takes place, and no Democrats vote for a Republican map, GOP legislators would wish to win over each independents to go their very own boundaries once more.
P.S. As a result of Louisiana doesn’t assign pre-Election Day votes to precincts, we now have relied on the identical methodology to estimate congressional district vote totals that we recently used in Alabama.