Jul 16, 2013 12:09 PM by AP(PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE, WESH)
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Republican Party has a new member in the Louisiana State Senate: Rick Ward, a first term lawmaker from Port Allen.
Ward's defection from the Democratic Party was announced Tuesday by the state Republican Party. The secretary of state's office confirmed Ward filed party change paperwork in Iberville Parish a day earlier.
With the change, 26 Republicans are in the 39-member Senate, a two-thirds majority.
Ward becomes the third state lawmaker in two months to jump to the GOP. He joins Rep. Jim Fannin, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Elbert Guillory, who became Louisiana's first black Republican state senator since Reconstruction.
Ward's district includes parts of St. Helena, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, Assumption and St. Martin parishes.