While state Rep. Joel Robidueax surprised no one with his recent acquisition of the Republican Party label, some whining by members of the GOP from his area may have caught off guard those who don’t know the circumstances of Robideaux’s entry into the Legislature and his voting record.
Robideaux, whose switch from independence is considered related to his bid to become the next House speaker pending reelection, first got into the Legislature when winning a special election over the choice of many Lafayette area Republicans. This confirmed a growing gulf between two factions of the local GOP, between former state Rep. Ernie Alexander and outgoing state Sen. Mike Michot. Without going into the Byzantine details of the tiff, involving such issues as leadership of the state party, supporting GOP national candidates, and legislation and retaliation about it, the onetime allies increasingly became divided and Robideaux was backed by Michot against Alexander and others’ choice, where Robideaux ran as an independent to differentiate him.
While Robideaux throughout his political career to this point maintained a no-party identity, his voting behavior as a legislator clearly is conservative and reform, as his scores on the Louisiana Legislature Log voting index have demonstrated.