By MELINDA DESLATTE
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - By jumping to the GOP, Opelousas Sen. Elbert Guillory made history, becoming Louisiana's first black Republican state senator since Reconstruction.
With a four-minute video explaining why he left the Democratic Party, Guillory's become a darling of national conservatives.
The YouTube video had attracted nearly 700,000 viewers by Tuesday. It's been cited by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, and Guillory's getting speech requests from Republican groups around the country.
Republicans have seized on Guillory's party switch as a sign black voters' support for the Democratic Party is eroding.
In the video, Guillory says Democrats have promoted programs like welfare and food stamps to make the black community dependent on government handouts.
Kirstin Alvanitakis, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Democratic Party, says the comments are "demeaning to say the least."