Republicans Gain Historic Power After Louisiana Democrat Switches Parties
The Democratic drift to the left has led to a history-making political event in Louisiana.
Citing the incompatibility of Democratic Party positions with his Christian faith, formerly Democratic state Rep. Francis Thompson announced Friday he will change parties and join the GOP.
Thompson’s party switch gives Louisiana Republicans a supermajority in the state’s House for the first time in the state’s 210-year history, according to Newsweek.
A supermajority means the GOP, which has that power in the state Senate, can override any veto from Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.
In making his announcement, Thompson said, “Let me clear: Nothing has changed.”
“There are values and principles that I firmly hold onto that guide my decisions. My conservative voting record over my years in the Legislature speaks for itself,” he said.
“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, who often voted with Republicans and was “the longest-serving Democrat in the Louisiana state legislature,” said the step was the result of long deliberations.
“This is a happy day, but it’s not a decision that was made in a day,” Thompson told the News Star.
“I’ve struggled with this and have been thinking about it for more than a year, when it has become clear that the Republican Party better represents my values and philosophy today,” he said.
Republican leaders said Thompson’s move was symbolic of a power shift in the state.
Louisiana Rep. Francis Thompson announces at the state GOP headquarters that he will leave behind his longtime Democratic Party affiliation and caucus with House Republicans. The move gives the GOP a supermajority in both chambers of the #lalege pic.twitter.com/tPe8CsefbF
— James Finn (@rjamesfinn) March 17, 2023
“Today marks a pivotal moment for the Louisiana Legislature, as it has reached a supermajority for the first time in modern history,” House Majority Leader Blake Miguez said, according to Newsweek.
“Representative Thompson’s decision to change parties after 48 years sheds light on the evolving nature of political affiliations and highlights the importance of this milestone for the legislature,” he said.
Louisiana Republican Party chairman Louis Gurvich said the party switch was “further evidence of Louisiana’s yearning for conservative values and a rejection of Washington liberal politics,” according to the News Star.
Republican state Sen. Heather Cloud said disillusioned Democrats voters seeking a “safe landing place” to jump to now “know where to go,” according to the Advocate.
Newsweek noted that between 1879 and 2004 there were only four years in which Democrats held fewer than 70 seats in the Louisiana House, but over the past 19 years, Democratic numbers have continually receded.
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