Sept. 2, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Louisiana - 7th District

Incumbent -- Charles Boustany Jr. (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key
 

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Anchored by blue-collar Lake Charles in the west, white-collar Lafayette in the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, the 7th District contains both coastal and city communities.

Agriculture, along with oil and gas production, directs the 7th's economy. A new Halliburton manufacturing plant in Lafayette will produce oil field facility parts and provide hundreds of jobs. But the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be lasting. In particular, increased marsh salinity has damaged important oyster ecosystems, compounding problems resulting from flooding during hurricanes Gustav and Ike that destroyed soybean, sugar and hay crops, rice fields, and thousands of cattle in 2008. Commercial fishing has also struggled, as the spill closed the gulf for months.

Before Gustav, Ike and Deepwater Horizon, the 2005 hurricane season battered Cameron and Calcasieu parishes. Cameron, once a key port for the nation's commercial fishing industry, has not recovered from years of population loss following the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Rita's landfall. Entire towns in the parish were demolished, and many of the residents who stayed or returned moved further inland, leaving long-inhabited homesteads near the coast.

Concerns about the age and effectiveness of waterway infrastructure worries local officials and Port of Lake Charles-based employers. Some officials in Lake Charles hope to build on the city's lakefront, but resistance to the development has kept the project from taking shape.

The 7th's sizable Catholic population bolsters its socially conservative leanings. Despite this bent, the area sent a Democrat to Congress in every election from 1884 until 2004. The GOP solidified its hold on the district's vote for president -- John McCain won 63 percent of the district's vote in 2008, 3 percentage points more than George W. Bush won here in 2004 -- and Republican candidates find support in every parish.

Major Industry

Oil and gas, petrochemicals, agriculture, fishing

Cities

Lafayette, 120,623; Lake Charles, 71,993; Sulphur, 20,410

Notable

Southwest Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette) in 1954 was the first all-white state college in the South to desegregate.

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