Politics

Louisiana Legislature spurns Johnson, enacts new House map he opposed

Louisiana’s Legislature has passed a new congressional map, brushing off opposition from the Bayou State’s own Speaker Mike Johnson and positioning Democrats to pick up an additional seat in the midterms.

The Louisiana Legislature finalized the map Friday. GOP Gov. Jeff Landry is expected to sign it into law soon.

The new map was spurred by a 2022 federal court ruling that the state’s congressional lines likely violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of Black Louisianans. The 2022 midterms, which used the soon-to-be-former map, saw five white Republicans and one Black Democrat elected in a state where Black residents represent roughly a third of the population.

The court ordered the state to draw a second majority-Black district. The Louisiana Legislature complied, sacrificing Rep. Garret Graves’ (R-La.) seat and drawing a new district that snakes from northwest Louisiana all the way down to East Baton Rouge.

The new 6th district now has a majority-Black voting age population and will almost assuredly elect a Democratic representative later this year.

In doing so, the Legislature brushed off Johnson, who in a statement earlier this week had urged state lawmakers to continue fighting the court order. That likely would have resulted in a court-drawn map for the 2024 elections. The speaker also suggested the Legislature could draw a map that does “not require the unnecessary surrender of a Republican seat in Congress.”

Republican state lawmakers stressed that they believed that if they had not drawn a map now with a second majority-Black district, the court would have dictated the map itself without their input. Legislators there said they prioritized protecting Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), the only woman in the delegation.

Graves has publicly complained that the new map would not withstand scrutiny in the courts, particularly due to the shape of the new district. But with its passage — which had bipartisan support in the state Legislature — Graves finds himself without a natural political home base.

Louisiana’s Legislature has passed a new congressional map, brushing off opposition from the Bayou State’s own Speaker Mike Johnson and positioning Democrats to pick up an additional seat in the midterms.
The Louisiana Legislature finalized the map Friday. GOP Gov. Jeff Landry is expected to sign it into law soon.
The new map was spurred by a 2022 federal court ruling that the state’s congressional lines likely violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of Black Louisianans. The 2022 midterms, which used the soon-to-be-former map, saw five white Republicans and one Black Democrat elected in a state where Black residents represent roughly a third of the population.
The court ordered the state to draw a second majority-Black district. The Louisiana Legislature complied, sacrificing Rep. Garret Graves’ (R-La.) seat and drawing a new district that snakes from northwest Louisiana all the way down to East Baton Rouge.
The new 6th district now has a majority-Black voting age population and will almost assuredly elect a Democratic representative later this year.
In doing so, the Legislature brushed off Johnson, who in a statement earlier this week had urged state lawmakers to continue fighting the court order. That likely would have resulted in a court-drawn map for the 2024 elections. The speaker also suggested the Legislature could draw a map that does “not require the unnecessary surrender of a Republican seat in Congress.”
Republican state lawmakers stressed that they believed that if they had not drawn a map now with a second majority-Black district, the court would have dictated the map itself without their input. Legislators there said they prioritized protecting Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), the only woman in the delegation.
Graves has publicly complained that the new map would not withstand scrutiny in the courts, particularly due to the shape of the new district. But with its passage — which had bipartisan support in the state Legislature — Graves finds himself without a natural political home base.  

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