Republican Party of Louisiana

Republican Party of Louisiana
Chairperson Roger F. Villere, Jr.
President of the Senate John A. Alario, Jr.
Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley
Headquarters 530 Lakeland Dr.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70802
Student wing College Republicans
Youth wing Young Republicans Teenage Republicans
Ideology Conservatism
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism
Colors Red
United States Senate delegation
2 / 2
United States House of Representatives delegation
6 / 7
Executive Offices
6 / 7
Louisiana State Senate
25 / 39
Louisiana House of Representatives
58 / 105
David Vitter, US Senator

The Republican Party of Louisiana is the U.S. state of Louisiana's organization of the national Republican Party. The state chairman is Roger F. Villere, Jr., a businessman from Metairie in Jefferson Parish, who has been repeatedly re-elected since 2004. Since the late 20th century, white conservatives in the states have mostly shifted to the Republican Party from the Democratic Party. As of 2016, every statewide elected official in Louisiana, with the exception of the governor, is a Republican.


The Republican Party of Louisiana was founded as the "Friends of Universal Suffrage" on November 4, 1865, by a group of whites, free men of color, and newly emancipated freedmen led by Benjamin Flanders.[1] He had been an Alderman of New Orleans from 1847 to 1852. Constitutional amendments after the American Civil War granted citizenship and suffrage to freedmen, most of whom affiliated with the Republican Party that had gained their freedom. Among the achievements of the biracial state legislature during the Reconstruction era was founding public education and some charitable institutions.[2]

Threatened by black majorities in several areas and unhappy with the outcome of the war, white insurgents challenged voting by blacks, and elections were increasingly disrupted by violence and fraud in the period of 1868 through the Reconstruction era. Chapters of the White League arose across the state in the 1874 as a white militia that worked for the Democratic Party to achieve the overthrow of the Reconstruction government. Notable extreme events of white violence against blacks in this period were the Colfax Massacre and the Coushatta Massacre. In addition, armed Democratic forces of the White League occupied New Orleans and took over state offices (then located in the city) after the disputed gubernatorial election of 1872.

In 1898 the Democratic-dominated Louisiana legislature followed Mississippi (and other Southern states) in passing a new constitution and laws with provisions that created barriers to voter registration and voting by blacks in the state, and also adversely affected many poor whites. These provisions included a poll tax, literacy test, grandfather clauses and similar requirements that were applied in a discriminatory manner against African Americans. They were essentially excluded from the political system for decades, depleting the Republican Party. The Democratic white-dominated state legislature passed racial segregation and other Jim Crow laws that enforced second-class status for African Americans.

Disenfranchisement of African Americans kept the Republican Party hollowed out well into the 20th century. In the first part of the 20th century up to 1970, tens of thousands of blacks left Louisiana for northern and western states in the Great Migration, contributing to changes in demographics of some areas of the state. As leaders of the national Democratic Party had supported the civil rights movement, after African Americans regained the power to vote and re-entered politics, most affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Since the late 20th century, the Republican Party in Louisiana and other southern states has had a resurgence fed by the movement of white conservatives from the Democratic Party to its ranks. This change was seen first in their voting for Republican presidential candidates, in states across the South.

Until the early 1950s, when blacks were still disenfranchised, no Republican won a single electoral vote in any Louisiana presidential election. But in 1956, the state supported national hero and Republican presidential candidate General Dwight David Eisenhower, who was admired for his leadership in World War II. His was the first of nine Republican presidential victories in the state among the 14 presidential campaigns from 1956 to 2008 inclusive.

Since the 1990s, Louisiana's U.S. House delegation has overall had a Republican tilt, and the number of Republicans elected to both houses of the Louisiana legislature has increased incrementally. As of 2009, Republicans had not had the majority in either the Louisiana House or state Senate since the Reconstruction era. The first Republicans elected to the state house in Louisiana in the 20th century were Morley A. Hudson and Taylor W. O'Hearn in 1964, the year that the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. The next year the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, ensuring that African Americans would again be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote in Louisiana and other states. The first Republican elected to the State Senate in Louisiana in the 20th century was Edwards Barham in 1975.

Although it was years before Republicans commanded a majority of the state house, they often secured important leadership posts. A notable example is John Hainkel, the first person in U.S. history to have been elected by his peers in any state legislature as both Speaker of the House and as President of the Senate.

David C. Treen was elected as governor in 1979; he was the first Republican elected to the office since the Reconstruction era. Charlton Lyons had made the first serious Republican gubernatorial campaign in 1964, when blacks were still disenfranchised. He drew a then record 37.5 percent of the general white election vote.[3] Drawing on increasing support in the state, Republicans have won the Louisiana governorship most of the time since Treen's election.

In 2004 David Vitter, a U.S. representative, was elected as Louisiana's first Republican United States Senator since the Reconstruction era, disenfranchisement at the turn of the century, and realignment of political parties in the state. As of 2010 the Republican Party holds all of the statewide elected offices, which include Governor Bobby Jindal, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, Secretary of State Tom Schedler, State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry Mike Strain, and Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon.

In 2009 election of Republican former U.S. Representative Clyde C. Holloway to the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates utility companies, gave that body its first-ever Republican majority. In 2010, Republicans gained a majority of both houses of the Louisiana state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, when party affiliations were quite different.[4]


The Republican Party of Louisiana is represented by its 144-member State Central Committee, which is established in the Louisiana Election Code, essentially Title 18 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes (LRS).[5] LRS Title 18 also provides for the Parish Executive Committee within each civil parish (county). The 144 members are based on the 105 state representatives and 39 state senators. Both committees are elected by party members in public elections set by law. Although not naming the parties, the Louisiana Election Code describes them in terms of requirements to be counted among the "recognized political parties." Besides the Republican Party, the only other party which routinely meets these requirements is the Democratic Party. Within each civil parish a representative of each recognized party's Parish Executive Committee serves on the Parish Board of Election Supervisors.[6]

The State Central Committee attempts to coordinate the efforts of the parish executive committees and related organizations.

Policy positions

Family values

The family unit is the foundation of the nation and ties together significant aspects of society. The party believes that marriage is a union between one man and woman; it opposes same-sex marriage and adoption of children by same-sex couples. It opposes abortion, urging single mothers to give up children for adoption if unable to raise them. The protection of all unborn children is supported.


The state party believes in the importance of education, through public, private, religious or home-schooling. The party supports the "No Child Left Behind" law. Including the Pledge of Allegiance and the showing of the American flag in school classrooms are both supported. The party believes that students should not be allowed to receive sex education without prior approval from parents. Also, the party believes students should be educated on the ideal of abstinence until marriage.

National policy

The state party supports the War on Terror and the actions of American troops overseas. The party supports spending cuts as a viable solution to maintaining the federal budget. The party supports preserving Social Security and making health care accessible to citizens by providing an array of affordable options to individuals. Public assistance is supported, as so long as it is earned by members of society through the means of employment. The party supports the expulsion of illegal aliens.


The state party believes that law and order is one of the utmost responsibilities of government, in that it ensures the protection of life, liberty and freedom for society as a whole. The party supports capital punishment, believing that its use should be reserved as a sentence for the most atrocious criminal acts.

Economic policy

The state party believes that the government should enable citizens to attain jobs and a living wage. In times when the U.S. is suffering economically, the party supports the reduction of government spending.

Notable events

Current elected officials

The Republican Party of Louisiana controls six of seven of the statewide constitutional offices and holds a majority in the Louisiana House of Representatives and in the Louisiana Senate. The party also holds both of the state's U.S. Senate seats and six of the seven U.S. House seats. The party membership is overwhelmingly white European American in ethnicity.

Members of Congress

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

Statewide offices

List of state Republican chairmen


  1. Rebecca J. Scott, Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery (Cambridge, 2005), 39.
  2. W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction, 1935
  3. See also Francis Grevemberg's 1960 Louisiana Republican gubernatorial campaign.
  4. Jacobs, David (2014-04-14). "The state of the GOP: A heated Senate race illustrates the divides in Louisiana's Republican Party". Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. 32 (16). Baton Rouge. pp. 27–35. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  5. Louisiana Election Code (Title 18 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes).
  6. A position occupied by Joseph Cao, for example, in Orleans Parish prior to his being elected to represent Louisiana's 2nd congressional district.
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