Power-Building Strategy: Use Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards’s leverage to create an additional Black congressional district.
As with Governor Beshear’s election in Kentucky that we highlighted yesterday, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards’s re-election in 2019 was a bright spot for Democrats in the South.
That year, Governor Edwards ran a locally-focused campaign that highlighted his track record of delivering for the people of Louisiana, and it paid dividends at the ballot box.
Governor Edwards is term-limited and will not be able to run for re-election in 2023. With him in control of the governor’s mansion, it is critical that he use all of the leverage at his disposal to ensure that another Black congressional district is drawn in one of the states with the largest Black populations.
Louisiana has the third-largest (by percentage) Black population of any state in the nation. Despite this, only one of Louisiana’s six congressional districts is majority-Black. As Stephen Wolf at Daily Kos has written about extensively, Louisiana is one of the states that could have drawn an additional majority-minority district following the 2010 census.
In Louisiana, the legislature is responsible for drawing congressional and state legislative district lines, with the Governor’s signature required for passage. While Republicans have large majorities in both chambers, they do not have supermajorities that can override the Governor’s veto.
When Louisiana redistricted after the 2010 census, it was also under divided government. That time, Democrats controlled both chambers of the legislature (which they would lose in 2011) and Republicans controlled the governorship.
This time, Democrats in the state — and particularly Governor Edwards — will need to think bigger and adopt a hardline approach to redistricting.
How you can advance a 50-state strategy in Louisiana:
- Be an advocate for a congressional map in Louisiana that empowers Black voters by drawing a second majority-Black district.