Jumping Ship: Dems Lose Third State Legislator to Republican Party in a Month

April 11, 2023

Democrats lost their third state legislator to the Republican Party in the past month, as Louisiana representative Jeremy LaCombe announced Monday he would switch his party affiliation.

The switch comes three weeks after Louisiana Democrats lost another member. Rep. Francis Thompson jumped ship on March 17 after nearly 50 years as a Democrat, granted Republicans a supermajority, meaning they can override gubernatorial vetoes from the state’s Democrat governor. Democrats in North Carolina suffered a similar blow last week when Rep. Tricia Cotham switched parties, also granting Republicans a supermajority.  

LaCombe has not given remarks or an explanation for the change, but the former Democrat confirmed the move with local publication the Advocate. He first won office in 2019, receiving 68 percent of the vote in a special election and 62 percent in a regular election, according to the Advocate

Louisiana House Democratic Caucus chair Sam Jenkins said LaCombe still holds the "same values" of his party and that they "look forward to working with Rep. LaCombe during this legislative session."

Thompson’s switch earlier this month was met with more fanfare in Louisiana, with Republicans holding a press conference to boast over their pickup. Thompson is the state’s longest-serving legislator, having served for almost 50 years. He pointed to the modern Democratic Party not lining up with the "values and principles that are part of my Christian life" as motive for the change. 

In North Carolina, Cotham said her switch was because the "modern-day Democratic Party has become unrecognizable to me." She claimed the party tried to "control" her and resorted to personal attacks against her and her children. 

"The party wants to villainize anyone who has free thought, free judgment, has solutions and wants to get to work to better our state," Cotham said. "Not just sit in a meeting and have a workshop after a workshop, but really work with individuals to get things done."

Published under: Louisiana , North Carolina