Long-time Louisiana Democrat switches parties, Republicans gain supermajority in both houses

By Dave Andrusko

When Louisiana state Rep. Francis Thompson, the state’s longest serving legislator, switched parties last week, it meant that the GOP now has a two-thirds supermajority in both the Louisiana House and Senate. That gives Republicans the power to override a gubernatorial veto.

But why did he switch his party registration from Democrat to Republican after serving as a Democratic lawmaker in northeast Louisiana for nearly 50 years?  According to the Daily Wire, Thompson said he felt prompted by his values and his Christian faith.

“Let me be clear — nothing has changed,” Thompson said at press conference Friday. “There are values and principles that I firmly hold onto that guide my decisions. My conservative voting record over the years I have served in the Legislature speaks for itself.”

But “The push the past several years by Democratic leadership on both the national and state level to support certain issues does not align with those values and principles that are a part of my Christian life,” Thompson said in a statement.

Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards is a Democrat and pro-life but is term-limited, meaning is unable to seek reelection in October. “The upcoming legislative session, which begins April 10, will be his last session as governor,” the Associated Press’s Sara Cline reported. All lawmakers’ seats will be up for election this year.

 “Louisiana GOP Chairman Louis Gurvich described news of the new supermajority as ‘historic’ and that Rep. Thompson joining Republicans is ‘further evidence of Louisiana’s yearning for conservative values and a rejection of Washington liberal politics,’” according to Cline.

The Advocate’s James Finn writes

The decision comes amid a broader shift in Louisiana electoral politics, as registered Democrats have fallen off voter rolls in droves. 

“This is an open invitation for all those Louisianans who don’t know where to go,” said state Sen. Heather Cloud, R-Turkey Creek. Cloud said Thompson’s move illustrates how the state Republican party is a “safe landing place” for voters who have lost faith in the Democratic party.

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