Born-again conservative: Democratic lawmaker, 81, changes party over Christian values

Louisiana House Supermajority
Louisiana state Rep. Francis Thompson reacts after being sworn in with other members of the Louisiana House of Representatives at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jan. 13, 2020. (Brett Duke/AP)

Born-again conservative: Democratic lawmaker, 81, changes party over Christian values

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Louisiana state Rep. Francis Thompson switched his registration from Democratic to Republican due to his Christian beliefs on Friday after serving almost 50 years as a Democrat.

Thompson, 81, is the longest-serving member of the state legislature, according to a report, and his switch gave Republicans in the Bayou State a two-thirds supermajority.

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“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 part of my Christian life,” according to Thompson.

He was first elected to office in 1974 and has served in the state House and Senate, and while he served as a Democrat for 48 years, Thompson maintains he has a “conservative” voting record.

“My conservative voting record over my years in the legislature speaks for itself,” he said.

He supported the call for Louisiana’s first veto override session in the hope of overriding Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’s rejection of legislation prohibiting transgender athletes from competing in female school sports, among other measures, the report noted.

Louisiana GOP Chairman Louis Gurvich called Thompson’s move “historic.”

It is “further evidence of Louisiana’s yearning for conservative values and a rejection of Washington liberal politics,” he said.

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House Democratic Caucus Chairman Sam Jenkins did not share Gurvich’s sentiment.

“While Rep. Thompson’s decision [to switch parties] is disappointing, it is not surprising,” Jenkins said. “He already caucused with Republicans.”

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