The congressman from Louisiana, Francis Thompson, switched to the Republican Party on Friday. The longest serving Democrat in the Baton Rouge state legislature decided to move to the GOP thus giving a supermajority to conservatives by tallying 70 votes to the 32 votes garnered by progressives.
The LAGOP welcomes State Representative Francis Thompson!
"This is a historic day for the Republican Party. Francis having joined our ranks is further evidence of Louisiana's yearning for conservative values and a rejection of Washington liberal politics," Chairman Gurvich said.
— Republican Party of Louisiana (@LAGOP) March 17, 2023
This is the first time in the state's history that the Republican Party has won a supermajority. It does so after Congressman Francis Thompson decided to register as a Republican rather than a Democrat after nearly half a century of supporting progressives since he began his political career as a state representative in 1975.
Francis Thompson, more identified with the GOP than with the Democrats.
The change, Thompson himself said in a statement issued by the Louisiana Republican Party, is because he feels more comfortable belonging to a political party with more traditional ideals:
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. 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. [...] My choice to move to the Republican Party is one that best represents my views and those of the constituents who elect me to serve them.
This is not the first time Thompson has allied himself with the Republican Party. Throughout the congressman's years as a registered Democrat, Thompson repeatedly supported the GOP in pushing through legislation that aligned more closely with his ideology.
In this way, for example, in December 2022, recalls Just the News, Thompson supported Republican-led legislation exempting religious institutions from state public health mandates. A bill later vetoed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.
"A historic day for the Republican Party"
Louisiana Republicans are thrilled with the addition of Francis Thompson to the conservative party. State Republican Party Chairman Louis Gurvich welcomed the congressman, stressing the historic nature of the change not only for the GOP but for all of Baton Rouge:
This is a historic day for the Republican Party. Francis having joined our ranks is further evidence of Louisiana's yearning for conservative values and a rejection of Washington liberal politics,
House Majority Leader Blake Miguez was also keen to stress the importance of Thompson's change and claimed that this was further evidence that many citizens of the Pelican State no longer align themselves with Democratic ideology:
Today marks a pivotal moment for the Louisiana Legislature, as it has reached a supermajority for the first time in modern history. 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. Francis made a personal choice to switch parties, influenced by his faith and his perception that the Democratic Party no longer aligns with his values. As a person of faith, he found the Republican Party to be more compatible with his principles, a sentiment shared by many Louisianians. This is a meaningful decision for a veteran legislator who has witnessed numerous shifts in our state's political landscape, and we extend a warm welcome to him in our party.