GOP grabs supermajority in Louisiana legislature after longtime Democrat switches parties

by WorldTribune Staff, March 19, 2023

Republicans now have supermajorities in both he Louisiana state House and Senate after a legislature who had served in the House as a Democrat for nearly 50 years switched to the GOP.

Louisiana state Rep. Francis Thompson

State Rep. Francis Thompson, the state’s longest-serving legislator, changed his party registration on Friday — becoming the 70th Republican member in the state House.

Thompson’s party switch now gives Republicans the ability to override vetoes by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards.

“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 part of my Christian life,” Thompson, 81, said.

Thompson, who was first elected in 1974, has served 12 years in the Senate and 37 years in the House.

In 2021, Thompson joined Republicans in hopes of overturning Edwards’ rejection of bills that would ban transgender girls from school sports and remove restrictions on concealed handguns. The legislature has the constitutional power to override a gubernatorial veto if two-thirds of both chambers vote in favor of it. House Republicans failed to get enough votes.

In 2022, Thompson again joined Republicans, this time calling for a veto override session in which the GOP successfully overturned Edwards’ veto of a congressional map.

Louisiana GOP Chairman Louis Gurvich said Thompson joining Republicans is “further evidence of Louisiana’s yearning for conservative values and a rejection of Washington liberal politics.”

Up until 2011, Democrats held majorities in the Louisiana legislature. As of Friday, along with the GOP supermajorities in the legislature, both of the state’s U.S. senators are Republican, along with all but one of the six U.S. representatives.

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