Former lawmaker wants to be ‘trans-political’

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics

Damon Baldone

Former state Rep. Damon Baldone attempted to change his party affiliation to both Democrat and Republican — a dual registration — on Monday morning with the Terrebonne Parish Registrar of Voters, but was refused and he is now taking the matter to court.

Depending on how the 32nd Judicial District rules, it could be a precedent-setting case.

The registrar only allowed Baldone to register his party affiliation as “other.”

“I believe I have the constitutional right to affiliate with both parties,” Baldone, who was a Democrat, told LaPolitics. “When I return to the Legislature I want to be in both rooms and talk to both sides.”

Baldone said he will qualify next month to run in House District 52, which is being left vacant by House Natural Resources Chairman Gordy Dove, R-Houma, who is term limited and campaigning for Terrebonne Parish president.

While Baldone, an attorney who describes himself as “100 percent pro-life before and after the child is born,” could have just as easily registered as independent, or non-affiliated, he said he has growing concerns about what a splintered, two-party system could do to the Louisiana Legislature.

“I want to head that off,” said Baldone. “Washington politics have been seeping into Louisiana, and it’s time to recognize that many of us share beliefs with both parties.”

Jerome Zeringue, former chairman of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and J.J. Buquet, who owns Buquet Distributing in Houma, are both expected to qualify for the House seat as well. Both are Republicans.