BATON ROUGE, Louisiana: State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 that he was switching his political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. The decision was made, he said, because he felt “more comfortable with what the GOP represents nationally and locally.”  The move was not entirely surprising given that Caldwell was the lone Democratic official to join nineteen other state attorney generals in filing suit against the federal government over the newly enacted health care reform measure in March 2010.  Although Caldwell is indeed up for re-election this year, the state has a non-partisan blanket primary, a situation in which all candidates for elected office run in the same primary regardless of political party affiliation. Therefore, the state’s top law enforcer would not face a direct primary challenging, thus making it a relative non-factor in his decision to switch parties.
Caldwell, however, is just the latest in a string of conservative state Democratic officials switching political parties. Prior to this, State Senators John Alario and Fred Mills as well as State Representatives Simone Champagne and Walker Hines had all altered their partisan affiliation. Caldwell’s departure from the state Democratic Party makes United States Senator Mary Landrieu as the lone Democratic statewide publicly elected official.