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Louisiana - 6th District

Incumbent -- Bill Cassidy (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated July 21, 2009

Freshman Cassidy, who was a state senator at the time of his 2008 House win, was one of only five Republicans who unseated a Democratic incumbent in what overall was a terrible year for the GOP. But the 2010 race will measure how firm a hold Cassidy established with that victory.

Cazayoux, the Democrat he unseated, had been elected just six months earlier in a special election to replace veteran Republican Rep. Richard H. Baker, who had left abruptly to head a financial industry trade association. Cassidy won the 2008 general election with a plurality, and appeared to be aided by the third-party candidacy of Jackson, an African-American Democratic state representative who had lost to Cazayoux in the special election primary and drew support from normally Democratic black voters.

It seems unlikely that Cazayoux will be seeking a rematch. Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu is recommending that President Obama nominate Cazayoux to be a federal prosecutor in Baton Rouge. Louisiana's primary comes very late in the election cycle, so this race may not develop until late this year or early next.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Centered around Baton Rouge, the socially conservative 6th takes in a slew of petrochemical plants along the Mississippi River as well as rural parishes along the Mississippi border. Baton Rouge's economic stability has spurred population growth in neighboring parishes -- Livingston and Ascension (shared with the 3rd District) parishes each experienced nearly 40 percent growth in the last decade.

Population growth in the area surrounding the state capital of Baton Rouge was fueled in part by new residents moving in after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and a robust construction sector accommodating redevelopment across the state supported the local economy. Infrastructure and transportation issues are hot topics as communities cope with the need for improvements.

Government remains the primary employer in Baton Rouge. Higher education also drives the economy, as Louisiana State University and Southern University are here. Casinos and other ventures, such as the Shaw Center for the Arts, have helped Baton Rouge promote tourism, and the city has lured several new firms to the region. A proposed light rail system connecting Baton Rouge to New Orleans might help spur further growth, but implementation of those plans is still considered a long-term goal.

The Port of Greater Baton Rouge gives the area a boost, but there have been periodic job cuts in the vulnerable petrochemical industry. Agriculture fuels the 6th's rural parishes, with sugar cane in the west and paper mills and sweet potato farms in the northeast.

Socially conservative suburban and rural voters have shifted toward the GOP, but Baton Rouge's minority and blue-collar residents can support Democratic candidates. Republican John McCain won 57 percent of the 6th's 2008 presidential vote.

Major Industry

Government, higher education, petrochemicals

Cities

Baton Rouge, 229,493; Prairieville (unincorporated), 26,895

Notable

The state Capitol, completed in 1932, is the tallest in the United States; Gov. Huey Long, who led the fight for a new state Capitol, was assassinated there in 1935 and is buried on the Capitol grounds.

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