The 2008 elections saw the Democrat Party's advantage in the State House of Representatives shrink from 16 seats to 2. Now, with the announcement of Rep. Simone Champagne (
D R - New Iberia) of her intention to switch parties, the balance is now 51 D, 51 R, 3 I.
Party politics don't dominate Louisiana's state government. For example, the governor has a say in the leadership of both chambers; last term, Bobby Jindal supported a Democrat as leader of the Senate.
But you must read Rep. Champagne's statement. I've been waiting for conservative/moderate Democrats to notice that they cannot reconcile their beliefs with the direction that the Obama/Pelosi/Reid leadership is taking the country (not to mention the impact of the Obama/Salazar drilling moratoria on this ravaged state).
“Although I was elected as a Democrat in 2007, I have concluded after much discussion and prayer that I can no longer affiliate myself with a party that does not reflect my core values and beliefs,” said Representative Simone Champagne. “The differences between the two major parties both in Louisiana and in Washington, D.C. have never been clearer and I must align myself with the party that most closely represents my vision for the 49th District and the future of this great state."
New Iberia is on the western end of U.S. Congressional District 3, the seat that will be vacated by Charlie Melancon in the 2010 Congressional election.
Cross-posted at VladEnBlog.