January 8, 1996 – January 12, 2004
|Preceded by||Edwin Edwards|
|Succeeded by||Kathleen Blanco|
Louisiana State Senator for
District 21 (Assumption, St. Mary,
St. Martin, and Terrebonne parishes)
|Preceded by||Anthony Guarisco, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||John Siracusa|
|Born|| July 11, 1930|
|Political party||Democrat-turned-Republican (1995)|
|Spouse(s)||Alice C. Foster|
|Relations|| Governor and U.S. Senator Murphy J. Foster, Sr. (paternal grandfather)|
|Alma mater|| Louisiana State University|
Southern University School of Law
|Profession|| Businessman; rancher|
Murphy James Foster, Jr., known as Mike Foster (born July 11, 1930), served as the 53rd governor of Louisiana from 1996 to 2004. Previously a Democrat, Foster switched to Republican affiliation in his 1995 campaign for the state's highest office.
Foster resides at his family's Oaklawn Manor sugar plantation near Franklin in St. Mary Parish in the southern portion of his state. Foster's grandfather, Murphy, Sr. (1849-1921), was a Louisiana governor and U.S. Senator from Louisiana; Foster is technically Murphy Foster, III, but he uses the Roman numeral "II" because his grandfather died nine years before Foster's birth.
Foster won the governorship as the final successor to Democrat Edwin Edwards by defeating an array of opponents, including future U.s. Senator Mary Landrieu, former Governor Buddy Roemer, and African-American U.S. Representative Cleo Field. David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klansman, endorsed Foster in the gubernatorial race; as it turned out Foster had paid from his personal funds $150,000 to Duke for the use of Duke's mailing list. Term-limited in 2004, he was succeeded by the Democrat Kathleen Blanco of Lafayette, who defeated Foster's preferred successor, Republican Bobby Jindal, who subsequently won the 2007 nonpartisan blanket primary to succeed Blanco.
Though elected on an anti-gambling platform, once in office Foster became a quiet ally of the gambling industry. His support for a bailout bill for Harrah’s casino in New Orleans secured passage of the measure. Prior to leaving office, Foster quarreled with fellow Republican U.S. Representative and subsequent Senator David Vitter over expanded gambling on Indian reservations. He ran against affirmative action, racial quotas, corruption, welfare fraud, and gun control. He was considered closer to business interests than most other Louisiana governors of his generation. Though he had endorsed conservative Pat Buchanan for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996, he was back with the establishment Republicans in leading the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney ticket in 2000.
He is an inductee of the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.
- Foster, Duke La. Campaign Finance Opinion No. 99-360. domino.ethics.state.la.us. Retrieved on October 4, 2017.