WASHINGTON – Louisiana state senator Elbert Guillory, a former Democrat who rose to national prominence when he switched to the Republican Party last month, attended a meeting of conservative House Republicans Wednesday afternoon.
Guillory changed his party affiliation in June, becoming the first black Republican Louisiana state senator since reconstruction. He received great fanfare for a video he released explaining the decision.
He attended a meeting of the Republican Study Committee at the Capitol Wednesday.
Louisiana Congressman and RSC Chairman Steve Scalise told The Daily Caller he invited Guillory, a longtime friend of his. The two served in the state house together.
“A lot of our members of RSC have seen his video and were really inspired by it,” Scalise said, adding that Guillory was in Washington, D.C. for other reasons and Scalise had taken the opportunity to invite him to the meeting.
A source present at the meeting said Guillory spoke for two to three minutes, telling members he was happy to be around like-minded people. He also gave some remarks reflecting on the opening prayer, and attacked the idea that opposition to the Affordable Care Act was racist – a comment to that effect made by a Democratic state senator was part of what prompted his party switch. Guillory also called on members to continue to draw the line between Democrats and Republicans.
“He got a standing ovation,” Scalise said, adding that “given our membership, it’s a really strong group of conservatives, that spoke well about how his message was received.”
He has a “real powerful message to tell,” Scalise said, saying he wanted Guillory in the meeting to “help tell a story.”
Louisiana has a high-profile Senate race coming up next year against Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. Rep. Bill Cassidy, a member of the RSC, is challenging her, leaving a vacant congressional seat.
Whether Guillory might jump in to either of those races – or another race – is unclear.
“I have no idea what his political future is,” Scalise said.
Guillory did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.