Francis Thompson has been a member of the Louisiana State Senate or House for 50 years. He held office longer than any other Democrat in the state. Now, he has won a big victory for the Republican Party.
Thompson switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party on Friday, March 17. The move made him the 70th conservative in the state House and gave the party a supermajority for the first time in the state’s 210-year history.
Now, Republican lawmakers can override Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards’s vetoes. KPEL News says that Louis Gurvich, the head of the LAGOP, said that Friday was a “historic day” for the party. He went on to say that Thompson’s decision to join the GOP shows that the state backs “conservative values” and doesn’t want Washington to be liberal.
Sam Jenkins, who is in charge of the House Democratic Caucus, said in a statement that the lawmaker’s choice was “disappointing” but “not surprising.” Jenkins said that Thompson “had already met with Republicans.”
Thompson was the only Democrat who joined with Republicans in 2021 to try to overturn Edwards’ vetoes of a Constitutional carry bill and another bill that would have stopped transgender girls from playing sports in school. In 2022, he also backed a GOP plan to keep religious groups from having to follow state public health orders.
Newsweek reported Thompson said that his voting record shows that he tends to be on the right. He said that his decision to switch parties didn’t change anything because he makes decisions based on “values and principles.” As for why he joined the Republican Party, he said that the positions of the Democratic Party at the state and national levels don’t match his “Christian values and principles.”
Thompson isn’t the only politician who has left the Democratic Party in the past few years. Last year, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) quit her party and became an Independent.