The Campaign Spot

Local Democratic Lawmakers Keep Realizing They’re Republicans

Will the last Georgia Democrat to leave the state party headquarters please turn out the lights?

The Democratic defections continue in the Georgia Legislature.State Rep. Bubber Epps on Monday became the latest Democratic state lawmaker to switch his allegiance to the Republican Party . . . Epps is the eighth Democratic state lawmaker to switch sides since the Nov. 2 general election. Republicans now hold 113 seats in the 180-member House. Democrats control 64 seats, there is one independent and two seats are open.

Well, that’s just Georgia. It’s not like it’s happening in . . .

The chairman of the Texas Democratic Party says he believes State Rep. Allan Ritter’s decision to switch parties and join the Republican Party is “not a principled decison.”

Ritter confirmed to KFDM News Saturday that he’s switching from the Democratic to Republican Party and will make an announcement Tuesday in Austin, expected to be attended by Governor Rick Perry and a number of other GOP leaders and colleagues from the legislature.

Okay, so it’s happening in Georgia and Texas. It’s not like Democrats are fleeing the party all over . . .

Central District Public Service Commissioner Lynn Posey ditched the Democratic Party Wednesday as the governor and a long line of other elected officials welcomed him into the Mississippi GOP.

“The Democratic Party’s continued swing to the left has left me completely out of sync with that party and I feel I must switch to the Republican Party whose philosophy is way more in line with mine, and I also think more in line with the majority of people in the Central District,” Posey, 55, said during an event at the Republican Party headquarters in Jackson.

Gov. Haley Barbour said he’s “very pleased” Posey switched parties and will run for re-election in 2011 as a Republican.

“You’re seeing more and more of that happen right now and I believe he won’t be the last,” Barbour said.

Okay, Georgia and Texas and Mississippi. But not . . . oh, heck.

State Rep. Noble Ellington of Winnsboro, a prominent Democrat for more than 20 years in the state House and Senate, says he is likely to switch to the GOP.“I’m 95 percent sure,” he said Wednesday.Two state senators — John Alario of Westwego and John Smith of Leesville — recently switched from the Democratic Party. Alario, a former two-time House speaker and a fixture in Democratic state politics for nearly four decades, said he made the change official last week. Ellington said he will probably make his final decision early next month.“I think at this point it would probably be hypocritical for me to remain in the Democratic Party because I find myself farther and farther away from what has become the liberal philosophy of the national party,” he said. “My way of thinking, which falls along a more conservative line, has been shrinking within the party.“At least nationally, the Republican Party seems to fit my philosophy more than the current Democratic Party.”

Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana . . . Clearly, this is a phenomenon contained to Southern states . . . like, er, Indiana:

CEDAR LAKE — Two of the town’s elected officials have switched parties.

Clerk-Treasurer Amy Sund and Councilman John Foreman have declared they are joining the Republican Party, Lake County GOP Chairwoman Kim Krull said in a news release.

“With the huge wins we had last month and the organization we are putting together I am sure we will see more people interested in joining the Republican Party,” Krull said.

We hear a lot about how the GOP isn’t competing well in the Northeast at all. But in the South, the Democrats are turning into the farm team for the state Republican parties.


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