Louisiana Republican lawmakers gained a significant upper hand after a longtime Democrat switched parties.
State Rep. Francis Thompson, who has served as a Democrat from northeast Louisiana for decades, changed his party registration on Friday, according to CBS affiliate WAFB.
With this party swap, Republicans now have the numbers in both chambers of the state legislature to muster a two-thirds supermajority to override vetoes by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.
This is the first time Republican lawmakers in the state have had such an advantage in Louisiana’s roughly 210-year history, per Newsweek.
Thompson, 81, insisted that “nothing” has changed in his values, though he acknowledged having a “conservative” voting record.
“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,” Thompson added in a statement.
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The Northern Virginia Daily reported that: “In 2021, Thompson joined Republicans as the only Democrat to call for the state’s first veto override session — under the state’s 50-year-old constitution — with the hopes of overturning Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ rejection of bills that would ban transgender girls from school sports and remove restrictions on concealed handguns. The legislature has the constitutional power to override a gubernatorial veto if two-thirds of both chambers vote in favor of it. However, the session collapsed after House Republicans couldn’t garner enough votes.”
“While Rep. Thompson’s decision (to switch parties) is disappointing, it is not surprising. He already caucused with Republicans,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Sam Jenkins said in a written statement Friday.
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