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What cannot be disputed is that Hines changed parties on his own, without lining up concessions from the GOP or even consulting Republican mullahs beforehand. He did call several party leaders immediately afterward, he says.
Hines’ conversion puts Republicans within two votes of a majority in the state House of Representatives, which already is run by Republican Speaker Jim Tucker of Algiers. It’s a safe bet that as more conservative, pro-life Democrats digest the impact of the midterm elections, the GOP will have a majority in the House when the spring session begins in April.
In the Senate, Democrat John Alario of Westwego let it be known that he, too, is contemplating a party change. Ever the pragmatist — and the dean of the Louisiana Legislature — Alario makes no secret of his ambition to become Senate president in 2012. Current Senate President Joel Chaisson, D-Destrehan, is term limited.