The longest-serving Democrat in the Louisiana state Legislature, Francis Thompson, has changed parties, giving Republicans a 70-vote supermajority that allows the GOP to override a veto by the state's Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, Newsweek reported over the weekend.
Thompson, who was first elected to the statehouse as a Democrat in 1975, had already caucused with Republicans and last year signed on to GOP-led legislation exempting religious institutions from state public health orders that the governor eventually vetoed, as well as a concealed carry bill that was mainly supported by Republicans.
Thompson stressed his voting record in his decision to switch.
"Let me be clear: Nothing has changed," Thompson said. "There are values and principles that I firmly hold on to that guide my decisions. My conservative voting record over my years in the Legislature speaks for itself."
He added, "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's switch gives the GOP its first supermajority in the state's 210-year history, according to Newsweek.
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