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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Redistricting Louisiana

Since Louisiana has six Republican and only one Democrat Congressmen, when it loses a seat one would assume that it will come at the expense of the Republicans. Analysis shows that this does not have to be the case as a result of the effects of Hurricane Katrina. That caused a lot of damage to homes in New Orleans and resulted in a flight of a lot of people to neighboring states. However, New Orleans is the major Democrat area of the state and the loss of population has come at the expense of the Democrats. You may recall that the Democrat representing the New Orleans area was caught with his hand in the cookie jar or more accurately with the money in his freezer. That allowed a Republican, Congressman Gao, to get elected in 2008 only to be defeated in 2010 when the Democrat candidate was scandal free.

It turns out that ex-Congressman Gao can get his seat back if the Republican controlled state legislature redistricts the state in a certain way. Since there is a Republican governor one can assume he would not veto such a bill. Still when a state loses a seat, unless one incumbent retires, two congressmen have to run against each other, namely the two that live closest to each other. In this case, that turns out to be two Republican congressmen who live in adjoining parishes (that's what they call counties in Louisiana). Perhaps either Congressmen Landry or Boustany would rather retire. Here is how Louisiana can be redistricted to produce six Republican congressmen and freeze the Democrats out:

Map of proposed Louisiana congressiona districts

That blue area below the large white area (Lake Pontchartrain) is New Orleans. The white dots that represent where the various congressmen live and you will see two right together below the lake. That is because Republican Congressman Scalise lives in Metarie which is a suburb of New Orleans where Congressman Richmond lives. By taking the area north of the lake out of Congressman Scalise's district and giving it to Congressman Richmond and giving the area south of New Orleans to Congressman Scalise, the result would be six Republican districts as the following table demonstrates:

Incumbents 2010 Population Deviation
% Deviation
Dem Votes Rep Votes
New Congressional Districts Figures
Scalise (R)
752,449 -3,113 -0.4120% 60,733 132,377
Richmond (D)
757,037 +1,475 +0.1952% 90,360 122,405
Landry - Boustany (R)
757,466 +1,904 +0.2520% 85,606 133,742
Fleming (R)
757,130 +1,568 +0.2075% 59,108 128,592
Alexander (R)
756,436 +874 +0.1157% 59,371 148,628
Cassidy (R)
752,854 -2,708 -0.3584% 98,201 178,955
Total/Average 4,533,372 +/-1,940.3 +/-0.2568% 453,379 844,699

We never had to split a parish to get totals close enough to the equal population figure of 755,562. Congressman Boustany had no Democrat opposition so we were forced to use the votes from 2008 in his district. We only plugged those figures into parishes than were not part of any other district since we have no idea of how to prorate the split parishes without a precinct map. Thus the foot totals do not add up to the correct total votes for all of the congressional candidates of both parties since no 2010 results were reported for Congressman Boustany's district. Congressman Alexander had no Democrat opponent but he did have an independent candidate in opposition so we used those results for the Democrat column which no doubt under-reports the Democrat total but would not change who won.