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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on March 25, 2007 11:33 AM.

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Senate District One - Early Rumors

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Now that Governor Blanco, has dropped out of the race and former Senator John Breaux has asked State Attorney General Charles Foti for permission to run, the race for Governor is on stand-by until Foti issues his decision. Meanwhile, there are other positions up for election that are being influenced by the Governor's race.

Senator Walter Boasso from Senate District One has declared his candidacy for Governor, leaving his seat wide open. A number of politicians have expressed interest in this race, although no one has committed publicly to it as of yet.

The biggest issue with Senate District One will be the shift in demographics. Senate District One covers all of St. Bernard Parish with a little bit of Plaquemines and St. Tammany Parish and a sprinkling of Orleans Parish. Since Hurricane Katrina, St. Bernard Parish has lost roughly 75% of its population while St. Tammany has gained about 5%. (The Census Bureau report mainly looks at the period from 2000-2006, although they did report the 2005-2006 change for St. Tammany Parish. I believe it is safe to say the majority of the outflux of people from St. Bernard Parish is from 2005, after Hurricane Katrina.)

The voter registration changes between St. Bernard Parish and St. Tammany Parish within the confines of Senate District One are still in flux, so you have two camps of thought.

One camp still believes that the base of Senate District One resides in St. Bernard Parish and that is where the majority of the votes will come from. The other believes that the base has shifted to St. Tammany Parish.

Census numbers give an idea of population shift and they help determine political boundaries every ten years, but politicians only care about voter registration numbers since that determines who can or cannot vote for them.

According to the latest voter registration figures (see chart below) from the Secretary of State's office, dated March 4, 2007, St. Bernard Parish has 35,700 registered voters while St. Tammany (Senate District One only) has 24,851. This difference of nearly 11,000 voters is about equal to the difference of registered voters compared to residents living in St. Bernard Parish.

As the election draws nearer, you can expect that number to shrink even more, and for an aggressive campaign, you can expect a large number of residency challenges in St. Bernard Parish also.

An interesting thing, looking at the voter registration numbers, Senate District One has lost 8,332 registered voters since August 19, 2005 (the last day numbers were available before the storm). St. Tammany gained 106 new voters compared to St. Bernard losing 165, but St. Tammany then lost 630 voters from December 2005 to March 2007, beating Plaquemines Parish which lost 437 voters.

So what does all of this mean? While St. Bernard currently has the numbers advantage, expect that number to dwindle as the election gets closer so that St. Bernard and St. Tammany are nearly even on election day. That means it will become a focus of which parish has more enthused voters and, as always, which candidate can get their voters to the polls on election day.

Who can we expect to see as candidates? Again, no one has committed publicly, but these are the rumors that are being thrown about.

Louisiana House District 76 Representative A.G. Crowe has expressed interest in the seat. Naturally, he is one that believes the base of Senate District One is shifting to the North Shore.

Another North Shore name looking at the race is St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis. Term limited out of his current position, he's looking to make a move into state politics.

South of the lake, La. District 104 Representative Nina Hutter was eyeing the position since she only has one term left before she is term limited out. However, she has since backed away from it since her political ally St. Bernard Parish Councilman-at-Large Joey DiFatta has said he wants to run for the seat.

I haven't heard much about former candidates Wayne Mumphrey or Wayne Landry trying for the seat again.

Right now my money is on one of the two North Shore candidates. DiFatta does not have the level of support within St. Bernard Parish that he thinks he has and I do not believe he will be a big enough draw for St. Tammany voters to go against one of their own native residents.

Voter Registration Changes for Senate District One
Aug-05 Change Dec-05 Change Mar-07 Total Change
St. Bernard 42971 -165 42806 -7106 35700 -7271
St. Tammany 25375 106 25481 -630 24851 -524
Orleans 372 -9 363 -71 292 -80
Plaquemines 10342 -20 10322 -437 9885 -457
Total 79060 -88 78972 -8244 70728 -8332

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