Francis Thompson has held a position in the Louisiana State Senate or House for 50 years. He was the state’s longest-serving Democrat. He has now significantly aided the Republican Party.
On Friday, March 17, Thompson switched his party affiliation from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. Throughout the 210-year history of the state, the action made him the 70th conservative to be elected to the state House, giving the party a supermajority.
Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards’ vetoes can now be overridden by Republican lawmakers. Louis Gurvich, the LAGOP chairman, referred to Friday as “a historic day” for the party, according to KPEL News.
Thompson’s choice to join the GOP, he said, is proof that the state supports “conservative values” and desires to reject liberalism in Washington.
The choice was “disappointing,” but “not surprising,” according to Sam Jenkins, the head of the House Democratic Caucus, who noted that Thompson “already caucused with Republicans.”
In 2021, Thompson was the sole Democrat to team up with Republicans in an effort to override Edwards’ vetoes of two bills: one that would have prohibited transgender females from participating in school sports and another that would have allowed for constitutional carry.
He further backed a Republican initiative in 2022 to exclude religious institutions from the state’s public health regulations.
Thompson said that his historical voting record demonstrates his conservative leanings. Because of his “values and principles,” which influence his decision-making, he said that “nothing has changed” as a result of his choice to switch parties.
He claimed that the Democratic Party’s positions at the state and federal levels conflict with his “values and principles that are a part of his Christian life,” which is why he formally joined the Republican Party.