Joe McPherson

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William Joseph “Joe” McPherson, Jr.
Louisiana State Senator from District 29 (Rapides Parish)
In office
Preceded by Edward G. “Ned” Randolph, Jr.
Succeeded by B.G. Dyess
In office
Preceded by B.G. Dyess
Succeeded by Rick Gallot
Personal details
Born (1950-12-18)December 18, 1950
Louisiana, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Karen McPherson
Children Joe McPherson, III
Residence Woodworth, Rapides Parish, Louisiana
Alma mater Northwestern State University
Occupation Businessman

William Joseph "Joe" McPherson, Jr., (born December 18, 1950)[citation needed] is a Democratic former member of the Louisiana State Senate from Woodworth, a small community south of Alexandria, Louisiana, the seat of government of Rapides Parish and the largest city in the Central Louisiana region. McPherson’s service extends from 1984 to 1996 and 2000 to 2012, when his last term expired.[1]

McPherson is a graduate of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. He also attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. His business activities include retail, commercial property, and health care facilities.[2] He and his wife, Karen, have a son, Joe, III.[3]

State senate elections[edit]

McPherson was first elected to the Senate in 1983, when he resided in Pineville. He unseated incumbent fellow Democrat Ned Randolph, who subsequently served from 1986 to 2006) as the mayor of Alexandria. Randolph’s defeat came in the same election cycle that Edwin Washington Edwards staged his gubernatorial comeback for a third nonconsecutive term against incumbent Republican David C. Treen.

In 1987, McPherson defeated the Republican Jock Scott, an outgoing member of the Louisiana House of Representatives who sought to move up to the Senate, and former senator Cecil R. Blair of Lecompte, who was seeking a comeback, having been defeated in 1975 by Ned Randolph.[4] McPherson won again on November 16, 1991, over the Republican Robert W. Bates, 23,428 votes (56.8 percent) to 17,819 (43.2 percent).[5]Three other Democratic candidates, including state Representative Charles R. Herring of Alexandria and singer Jay Chevalier, had been eliminated in the primary election held on October 19.[6]

McPherson did not seek a fourth consecutive term in 1995. Voters chose the Democrat B.G. Dyess, an ordained Baptist minister who had been the Rapides Parish registrar of voters from 1964 to 1988. When Dyess did not seek a second term in 1999, McPherson returned to claim the seat once again, having defeated the Republican State Representative Randy Wiggins of Pineville.[7]

McPherson was reelected in 2003 and 2007 by wide margins in each election over his fellow Democrat Jerry M. Guillory, who had also run in the 1999 McPherson-Wiggins race.[8]

McPherson was ineligible to seek a fourth consecutive Senate term in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 22, 2011. In all, he served a total of six full terms in the Senate and was succeeded by the African American outgoing state Representative Rick Gallot of Grambling, who polled just over 50 percent of the vote in the primary. After the 2010 census, District 29 was reconfigured to include the black communities in seven parishes: Bienville, Grant, Jackson, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Rapides, and Winn.[9]

Other campaigns[edit]

In the meantime, McPherson lost an election for the United States House of Representatives in 1990 and twice for the Louisiana Public Service Commission, in the primary on October 21, 1995, and in a special election on April 4, 2009.

In 1990, McPherson, then residing in Pineville, challenged incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Clyde Holloway, a conservative from Forest Hill, also in Rapides Parish, in the since defunct Eighth District House seat. Holloway won the race but was himself narrowly unseated in 1992 in a revised districting plan by a fellow Republican, Richard H. Baker of Baton Rouge.

In 1995, McPherson did not seek a fourth term in the Senate but instead challenged state Representative Dale Sittig of Eunice in St. Landry Parish, for the District IV seat on the Public Service Commission. Sittig polled 141,473 votes (52.8 percent) to McPherson's 126,452 (47.2 percent). Sittig cemented his margin with comfortable wins in his own St. Landry Parish as well as Evangeline, Acadia, and Calcasieu parshes. Surprisingly, McPherson won his own Rapides Parish by fewer than two thousand votes.[10]

Thirteen years later, Sittig resigned on September 15, 2008, from the PSC to accept the appointment from Governor Bobby Jindal to the Louisiana Offshore Terminal Authority. McPherson then entered the special election for the PSC seat that Sittig had vacated. His rivals were Republican Clyde Holloway, whom he had opposed for Congress in 1990, and the Democrat-turned-Republican former State Representative Gil Pinac. Though he had predicted a solid victory on his website and trailed Holloway in the first round of balloting by only 648 raw votes (less than 1 percent), primarily because of a strong showing in Lake Charles,[11] McPherson withdrew from the runoff election. Holloway thus claimed the PSC seat, his first elected position since 1993, when he left Congress.[12] In the meantime, Holloway lost attempts to return to the U.S. House in 1994, 1996, and 2002, and to be elected lieutenant governor in 2003 on an ill-fated ticket with former PSC member Jay Blossman, who had left the commission by the time Holloway won the former Sittig seat.

Senatorial voting record[edit]

McPherson was considered an ally of organized labor in the Senate, but his ratings from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, a pro-business interest group, reached nearly 60 percent. The Louisiana National Federation of Independent Business ranked McPherson at 22 percent in support of its goals. Social conservatives often oppose him, but he has ranked nearly 80 percent in a rating from the Louisiana Family Forum.[13]


  1. ^ ""Membership of the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2004", pp. 96-97" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Senator Joe McPherson, District 29". Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Joe McPherson Shows Strong Lead in PSC Race" (PDF). Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Primary election returns, October 24, 1987". Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Louisiana general election returns, November 19, 1991". Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Primary election returns, October 19, 1991". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 23, 1999". Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 20, 2007". Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011". Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Election returns, October 19, 1995". Secretary of State. Retrieved September 16, 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Election returns, April 4, 2009". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved September 15, 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Senator drops out of runoff for PSC", New Orleans Times-Picayune, April 14, 2009, p. B2
  13. ^ "Project Vote Smart: The Voter's Self-Defense System". Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
Edward G. “Ned” Randolph, Jr.
Louisiana State Senator for the 29th District (Rapides Parish)

William Joseph “Joe” McPherson, Jr.

Succeeded by
B.G. Dyess
Preceded by
B.G. Dyess
Louisiana State Senator for the 29th District (Rapides Parish)

William Joseph "Joe" McPherson, Jr.

Succeeded by
Rick Gallot