Seeing Red, Louisiana Democrats Become Republicans
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
Louisiana's Democratic attorney general, James "Buddy" Caldwell, raised eyebrows last year when he joined many of his Republican counterparts and challenged the Obama administration's health care law in court.
Louisiana political writers speculated that Caldwell — alone among Democratic attorneys general to formally oppose the law — had done so in exchange for a promise from the state's Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, to preserve funding for Caldwell's office amid deep budget cuts elsewhere in state government.
Caldwell, however, may have lined up with the GOP out of simple philosophical agreement. On Wednesday (February 2), he announced that he is becoming a Republican, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune .
The attorney general, of course, also may be thinking about his political fortunes, given that he faces reelection in the fall. Caldwell is just the latest in a string of Louisiana Democrats to defect from the party at a time of Republican ascension.
Two state senators and three state representatives have switched to the GOP recently, and only one Democrat — U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu — now holds statewide elected office. "As recently as 2004," the Times-Picayune points out , "Democrats held both Louisiana's U.S. Senate seats, as well as six of the seven statewide constitutional offices."