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banner Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 10:14 GMT
Louisiana

Louisiana is one of the South's most Democratic states in presidential elections, although the current governor is Republican.

Key facts
Population: 4,350,579 (ranked 21 among states)
Governor: Mike Foster (R)
Electoral College votes: 9
Mike Foster won a second term in October 1999, comfortably beating his top-running challenger, Republican William J Jefferson, the state's first black Congressman since Reconstruction.

With a large black population Louisiana's politics divide on economic and racial lines and these are the issues presidential candidates must conquer.

1998 Congress
House of Representatives: 2 Democrats, 5 Republicans
Senate: 2 Democrats
Louisiana was passed between England, France and Spain from the 16th century, and eventually became part of the United States in 1803. As a result it has a diverse cultural mix, particularly evident in its most famous city, New Orleans.

Hot and swampy, the Pelican State's subtropical climate enabled it to build considerable wealth from sugarcane and cotton plantations. But it has left a legacy of wide class and caste distinctions, a conservative culture and a large and poor working-class population.

Voting record
1996: Clinton 52%, Dole 40%
1992: Clinton 46%, Bush 41%, Perot 12%
1988: Bush 54%, Dukakis 44%
This background produced Louisiana's most famous politician Huey Long. As governor and senator, Mr Long fought for Louisiana's dispossessed and provoked President Roosevelt to extend the scope of the New Deal.

But he also left Louisiana with a disorganised political system that continues today.

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Links to more States stories are at the foot of the page.


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