Louisiana Republican Fraud Squad

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The Louisiana Republican Fraud Squad is a term applied by conservatives in Louisiana regarding the method used on January 13, 2020, to select Moderate Republican Clay Schexnayder of Ascension Parish as the state House Speaker. Schexnayder's selection to succeed the more conservative term-limited Speaker Taylor Barras of New Iberia depended upon the united support of all thirty-five Democrats in the chamber. Of the sixty-eight Republicans in the House, twenty-three defected from the conservative choice, Sherman Mack of Albany in Livingston Parish, to support Schexnayder. The two Independent legislators also backed Schexnayder, who prevailed with a 60-45 overall House vote..

The term "Fraud Squad" is coined by the statewide radio commentator, Moon Griffon, based in Lafayette, who has expressed disgust at how the majority Republicans let the Speaker's post slip into the hands of moderates and liberals. Of the sixty-eight Republican members, only forty-five remained with the nominal Republican choice, Representative Mack.

Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, who began his second term on the same day that Schexnayder was chosen as Speaker, also worked behind-the-scenes to elect Schexnayder and thus outfox his conservative opponents though Edwards was unable to elect a fellow Democrat as Speaker.[1]

It remains to be seen if the 60-45 vote stays united in 2021, when the state's six seats in the United States House of Representatives as well as the 144 in both legislative chambers undergo redistricting. The possibility exists that the six seats could shrink to five, depending on census results.

This same approach has been used in Texas since 2009, when Moderate Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio won the first of five elections for Speaker with a similar coalition of Moderate Republicans and Democrats, thus gutting the nominal Republican majority in the Texas House. Straus unseated the conservative Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland, whose tenure as the longest-serving Republican member of the Texas House began in 1969.

Amid the acquittal of President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment on February 5, 2020, Griffon likened the Fraud Squad members to failed presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, the Moderate Republican from Utah who was the only Republican to vote to convict the president on the first article of impeachment.[2] In August 2020, Griffon urged serious conservatives who can raise campaign funds to oppose all twenty-three of the Fraud Squad members in the 2023 elections. None of the twenty-three Fraud Squad members should ever win another election, Griffon said. He noted that the Fraud Squad are nominally Republicans because they could not win as Democrats in their districts. Griffon also called out state Senate President Page Cortez of Lafayette as a Republican "who has never stood up for anything" in his legislative career. Griffon also said that he believes that some of the "Fraud Squad" members are likely to vote personally for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, rather than President Trump.[3]

List of Fraud Squad members

Moderate Republicans:

Two Independents

References

  1. Tensions high in Louisiana GOP after House speaker's vote. WBRZ.com (January 13, 2020). Retrieved on January 31, 2020.
  2. The Moon Griffon Show, February 6, 2020.
  3. The Moon Griffon Show, August 11, 2020.
  4. Moon Griffon Facebook page.