Republican members of the Louisiana state legislature are becoming a stronger governing body after a longtime member of the Democrat party decided he will now become a Republican.
State Rep. Francis Thompson (R), who has been a Louisiana Democrat for decades, switched his party registration on Friday, reports CBS affiliate WAFB.
Newsweek reported that this swap marks the first time Republicans in the state have held a majority this strong in the 210 years of Louisiana’s existence.
Due to the change in party registration, Republicans now hold a large enough majority in both state legislative chambers to bring together a two-thirds supermajority that can override any vetoes doled out by Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards.
The 81-year-old Thompson maintained that “nothing” has brought a shift in his values, but did admit to having a “conservative” voting record. In other words, Thompson is saying the Democrat Party left him — not the other way around.
— Shannon Heckt (@ShannonHeckt) March 17, 2023
“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,” stated Thompson.
When giving an explanation for his decision, Thompson indicated he was forced to leave the Democrat Party in order to uphold “biblical principles.”
“It bothered me… they would try to lobby you, the Democrats, on issues that I could not be for,” he proclaimed.
Former Democrat Rep. Francis Thompson explains why he switched to the Republican Party, giving Republicans a supermajority in Louisiana.
"It bothered me…they would try to lobby you, the Democrats, on issues that I could not be for" pic.twitter.com/hfQkJMlc68
— RSLC Rapid Response (@RSLC_Rapid) March 20, 2023
While Thompson did only just officially change his party affiliation, the Louisiana representative has been known to work with Republicans before. Just a couple of years ago, Thompson was the only reported Democrat to call the state’s first veto override session, teaming up with GOP officials to make the move.
Included in those efforts was a failed attempt to cancel a veto of a proposed bill that would have banned males from playing in women’s and girls’ sports.
Louisiana Democrats were reportedly not at all caught off guard by Thompson’s switch.
“While Rep. Thompson’s decision is disappointing, it is not surprising. He already caucused with Republicans,” commented House Democrat Caucus Chairman Rep. Sam Jenkins.