Louisiana's Longest-Serving Lawmaker Switches to Republican Party
Louisiana State Representative Francis Thompson made headlines in March 2023 when he announced his switch to the Republican Party. The move was significant because Thompson was the longest-serving member of the Louisiana Legislature, having served for 32 years in the House, followed by 12 years in the Senate, and then four more years in the House. He represents District 19 in East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, and West Carroll Parishes.
Thompson, a retired college professor and businessman, made the decision to switch parties after careful consideration and prayer with his family. He stated to the 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."
The decision was likely influenced by the recent redistricting session, which turned Thompson's District 19 majority red. Thompson even voted with Republicans last year to overturn Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards' veto of a congressional map. Thompson was the only Democrat to go against Edwards, as he supported legislation to ban transgender girls from female sports and to remove restrictions on concealed carry. He said he would still "vote my conservative values" and explained that his values are more aligned with the GOP.
Thompson's switch is not just significant because of his long tenure in the legislature, but also because it gives Republicans a super-majority in both the Louisiana House and Senate. This means that if two-thirds of both chambers vote in favor of legislation, they can override a governor's veto.
Thompson's move was welcomed by House Majority Leader Blake Miguez, who said, "As a person of faith, he found the Republican Party to be more compatible with his principles, a sentiment shared by many Louisianians." However, some critics have questioned the sincerity of Thompson's switch. Longtime radio host Moon Griffon, who has been an outspoken critic of Thompson for years, says Thompson made the switch only because it benefited him.
Despite the controversy, Thompson's move to the Republican Party highlights the political shifts taking place in Louisiana and underscores the growing importance of the GOP in the state. Thompson's conservative voting record and strong ties to his constituents make him a valuable addition to the party and could help Republicans maintain their super-majority in future elections.