Party switch gives GOP Louisiana supermajority

State Rep. Francis Thompson has represented his district for half a century.
The Louisiana state flag. (Image courtesy Louisiana Secretary of State’s office)

The longest-serving legislator in Louisiana history said he would caucus with Republicans on Friday, giving the GOP supermajorities in both the state House and Senate for the first time ever.

State Rep. Francis Thompson, who has represented a district that covers six parishes in northern Louisiana since 1974, said at a press conference at state Republican Party headquarters in Baton Rouge that he would join the GOP.

“There are values and principles that I firmly hold onto that guide my decisions. My conservative voting record over the years I have served in the legislature speaks for itself,” Thompson said Friday, according to KTBS.

Thompson’s decision gives Republicans 70 seats in the 105-seat House of Representatives, the largest number the party has ever held. Republicans also hold 27 of 39 seats in the state Senate. 

Both margins are large enough to give Republicans the votes to override Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) if Edwards vetoes legislation.

As recently as 2010, Democrats held control of the state House and Senate. 

Though Thompson has repeatedly won re-election as a Democrat, his district is thoroughly in the Republican camp. The district gave former President Donald Trump 71% of the vote in the 2016 elections, according to data compiled by Daily Kos, the progressive website.

The shift now gives Republicans supermajorities in 24 of the nation’s 98 partisan legislative chambers, mostly in the South, the Rust Belt, the Great Plains and the Mountain West.

Democrats hold legislative supermajorities in 18 chambers — in Hawaii, California, Illinois, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware.