Taylor Townsend (politician)

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Thomas Taylor Townsend
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 23rd district
In office
2000 – January 14, 2008
Preceded by Jimmy D. Long
Succeeded by Rick Nowlin
Personal details
Born (1963-07-05) July 5, 1963 (age 53)
Natchitoches, Louisiana, United States
Political party Democratic
Alma mater

Northwestern State University

Southern University at Baton Rouge Law School
Occupation Attorney

Thomas Taylor Townsend, known as Taylor Townsend (born July 5, 1963), is an attorney from Natchitoches, Louisiana, who served as a Democrat in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 2000–2008.[1] Townsend is a nephew and law partner of former Louisiana State Senator Donald G. Kelly, in the firm Kelly, Townsend & Thomas.[2]

In the 1999 nonpartisan blanket primary, Townsend narrowly upset veteran Democratic state Representative Jimmy D. Long, a Natchitoches businessman and member of the Long political dynasty who had served consecutively since 1968. Townsend prevailed, 7643 votes (51 percent) to Long's 7447 votes (49 percent).[3] The defeat was stunning in that Long had been unopposed in 1995. Long was apparently the last member of his political family to have held public office in Louisiana until 2008, when Long's younger brother, Gerald Long of Natchitoches, won a state senate seat by defeating Taylor Townsend.[4][5] Considered an authority on secondary and higher education planning and funding, Jimmy Long had been named one of the 100 most significant people in the 20th century history of North Louisiana by the Shreveport Times newspaper.

In the 2007 primary, Townsend did not seek a third term but instead ran for the open state Senate seat which had been held by his uncle from 1976–1996. The Democratic incumbent, Kenneth Michael "Mike" Smith of Winnfield, the seat of Winn Parish, who was ineligible to seek a fourth term. In a surprising turn of events, Townsend was defeated by Gerald Long, the first Long family member elected to office in Louisiana as a Republican. Long procured 20,609 votes (54 percent) to Townsend's 17,699 (46 percent) and won five of the six parishes in the district, losing only Natchitoches, the home of both candidates. He even won in Red River Parish, one of only two North Louisiana parishes that did not support Republican Governor Bobby Jindal in the October 20 primary.[5]

In addition to Townsend's defeat for the state Senate, Natchitoches Republicans elected Rick Nowlin to the House seat that Townsend had vacated. The Long and Nowlin victories marked the first time since Reconstruction that Natchitoches Parish had been represented by Republicans in either house of the state legislature.[1]

Townsend received a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and a Juris Doctor from Southern University Law School in Baton Rouge. Admitted to the bar in 1990, Townsend specializes in consumer class actions, criminal defense, civil suits, and personal injury cases.[2]

In 2014, Townsend is representing Walter C. Lee, an elected member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education who pleaded not guilty in state district court in Mansfield to four criminal charges stemming from alleged overbilling of travel expenditures to both BESE and his former employer, the De Soto Parish School Board.[6]


  1. ^ a b ""Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2012"." (PDF). house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Thomas Taylor Townsend: Law Profile". martindale.com. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Louisiana election returns, October 23, 1999". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Gerald Long". senate.legis.la.us. Retrieved October 4, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Louisiana Secretary of State-Election Results, October 20, 2007". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved September 25, 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ ""BESE member Walter Lee pleads not guilty", March 5, 2014". The Washington Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
Preceded by
Jimmy D. Long
Louisiana State Representative from District 23 (Natchitoches and Winn parishes)
Succeeded by
Rick Nowlin