Louisiana Dem Switches Parties After Nearly 50 Years in Politics, Citing Christian Values

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Officially, the longest-serving member in Louisiana’s state legislature has switched from Democrat to Republican.

After serving as a Democrat for 48 years, Rep. Francis Thompson switched to Republican registration on Friday. Thompson was first elected to the House in 1974. He served 32 more years in the House. After serving 12 years in the state Senate, Thompson returned to the House for four more years. His voting record is often called “conservative,” so it’s not surprising that he believes his new party affiliation will not affect much.

The 81-year-old retired professor at a college and businessman said that his conservative voting record in the Legislature over the years speaks for itself. He also stated that he made the change primarily due to his Christian faith.

Thompson stated that the Democratic leadership at the state and national levels has been pushing for certain issues over the years. This is not in line with the values and principles Thompson holds dear.

Louisiana Democrats have not always followed the lead of national Democrats despite their radical leftward leaning. Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards is a pro-lifer. He signed two bills that effectively ban almost all abortions in his state after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the SCOTUS last summer.

Edwards had vetoed legislation to protect women’s sports against male infiltration a year before. Thompson tried to override the veto with Republicans, but it was ultimately defeated.

Although Thompson has changed parties, the Republican Party still has a majority of veto-proof members in the House and Senate. To override a governor’s veto, Louisiana law requires that Louisiana’s two-thirds vote be cast in both chambers. The state legislature is now protected against Edwards’ potential veto, thanks to Thompson being the 70th Republican member of the House and the solid Republican majority in both chambers.

Some conservatives still doubt that Thompson’s party change will make much of a difference. Moon Griffon, a local radio legend, responded to the news by saying that Thompson was for Thompson. You can be sure that ‘The Fee’ did this because it was in his best interest. Take a look at his district. He is just one of many Democrats who traded in a D for an R to get reelected and remain in office.

The Hayride monitors “Southern politics, culture,” and a writer for it expressed similar doubts. He claimed that Thompson’s 70th vote is a result of “lousy leadership generally unwilling to press the advantage” and those 70 votes are “not an exactly solid supermajority.”

Blake Miguez, House Majority Leader, is delighted to see Thompson join the Republicans, despite the naysayers. “Francis made a personal decision to switch parties, influenced both by his faith and the perception that the Democratic Party does not align with his values. He found the Republican Party more compatible with his beliefs, which is a sentiment that many Louisianians share. We are proud to welcome him into our party as a veteran legislator who has seen many changes in the state’s political landscape.

The move is not surprising to Thompson’s former Democratic Party colleagues. Rep. Sam Jenkins, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, stated in a statement that while Rep. Thompson’s decision was disappointing, it is not surprising. He was already a co-chairman with Republicans.