Republicans Gain Supermajority in Louisiana Legislature as Lifelong Democrat Francis Thompson Switches Political Parties
BATON ROUGE, La. (KPEL News) - Republicans across Louisiana are excited as longtime Delhi Representative Francis Thompson has given them the power they have not had yet in modern state history - a supermajority in the Louisiana Legislature.
This is a historic day for the Republican Party," said LAGOP Chairman Louis Gurvich. "Francis having joined our ranks is further evidence of Louisiana's yearning for conservative values and a rejection of Washington liberal politics.
Thompson is the longest-serving member of the Louisiana Legislature, having served 32 years in the House, then 12 years in the Senate, and back to the House for 4 years. He represents District 19 in East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, and West Carroll Parishes. Thompson is a retired college professor and businessman. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and previously served as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development Committee from 2008-2019.
My family and I prayed about it and came to the decision that we can best serve the people of our area with the Republican Party,” said Thompson to Louisiana Radio Network. "My choice to move to the Republican Party is one that best represents my views and those of the constituents that elected me.
Why Did Francis Thompson Switch Political Parties?
After serving for 48 years, why would Thompson decide to switch parties now at the age of 81?
Redistricting and Values
Last year's redistricting session turned Thompson's District 19 majority red. He even voted then with Republicans to overturn Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards' veto of a congressional map. As LRN points out, he was the only Democrat to go against Edwards as Thompson supported legislation to ban transgender girls from female sports and to remove restrictions on concealed carry.
Thompson says he will still "vot(e) my conservative values" as he says his values are more aligned with the GOP.
Let me clear -- Nothing has changed!", Thompson states. "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.
House Majority Leader Blake Miguez (Erath) welcomes Thompson into the Republican Party:
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.
What is the Importance of Thompson's Party Switch?
With Thompson's switch to the GOP, Republicans now have a super-majority in both the Louisiana House and Senate. This gives them the power to override a governor's veto if two-thirds of both chambers vote in favor of legislation.
When Thomspon joined Republicans in support of the two bills mentioned earlier, the override session produced nothing for Republicans after they could not muster enough votes to override Gov. Edwards.
Not So Fast! Just How Sincere is Francis Thompson?
Longtime radio host Moon Griffon has been an outspoken critic of Thompson for years. He calls Thompson "The Fee" because he says "there's not a fee or a tax that ole' Francis won't vote for or support."
When Moon first heard of the party switch, he met it with skepticism that he still maintains.
Francis Thompson is for Francis Thompson. I guarantee you the 'The Fee' did this only because it benefitted him. Look at his district. He's just the latest in a long line of Democrats who have traded in a 'D' for an 'R' next to their name just so he can win reelection and stay in office. Ole Francis has been in office for way too long. It's time for Francis to go home! He's made enough money off the state.
As for the supermajority, Griffon points out that it's easy for Republicans to undercut each other despite having all of this power. Like the Speaker of the House race that wound up giving the job to Clay Schexnayder, Griffon says all it takes is for enough "selfish" Republicans to team up with Democrats to override majority Republican support.
You can give Republicans two pieces of bread and the ham and they would still mess up a ham sandwich. Heck, they can't even make a foldover with one piece of bread and one slice of ham!
Moon Griffon's Most Memorable Nicknames