The Republican delegation in the Louisiana legislature announced today that state sen. Jody Amedee of Gonzales has switched his party affiliation from D to R, giving the GOP a three-vote majority in the Senate. Amedee is the third Democrat senator to flip to the Republican side in the last five months – John Alario and John Smith had previously switched to the new majority party. Another former Democrat, Fred Mills, won a special election to succeed Troy Hebert, who had himself switched from Democrat to Independent before leaving the Senate to take a job running the Louisiana office of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
In all, a 23-16 Democrat advantage in the Senate following the 2007 election cycle has now melted into a 21-18 GOP majority. Republicans are expected to gain several more seats in this fall’s elections.
Amedee, a trial lawyer in his second term, represents much of Ascension Parish and parts of Livingston, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes. His voting record indicates a relatively middle-of-the-road persuasion; LABI rated him a 58 out of 100 for the past legislative session, with negative scores coming from his voting in favor of contingency fees to plaintiff attorneys hired by the state to pursue, among other things, BP claims (a bill which ultimately failed in the House), a vote in favor of the ultimately-passed budget which included some $2.8 billion more in state spending than the House had passed and a vote against a bill imposing “value-added” teacher evaluations, which ultimately passed. Amedee’s three-year score from LABI is 63, placing him 20th out of 39 senators in the business group’s scoring – precisely in the center of the Senate; 19 Senators are above Amedee in LABI’s scoring, and 19 are below.
The Louisiana Family Forum scores Amedee an 80 for last year’s voting, meanwhile. That score places him in a six-way tie for 16th most “family-friendly” senator; that would make him middle-of-the-road in LFF’s rankings as well.
One would assume Amedee’s voting record will move sharply to the right in the coming session, as his district is rapidly becoming more conservative. His move alone is a reflection of that.