Usually, it is the outrageous statements and actions of far-left liberal Democrats on the national level that garner the most attention. We are more likely to hear about the daily absurdities of AOC and the squad then than those who serve in state legislatures. But what is often overlooked is the fact that the antics and words of those on the national stage filter down to their state-level counterparts. And the Democrat Party, in its current form, is sending even long-time state Democrats to the exits — and straight over to the Republican Party. And some of the reasons why are not that surprising.
PARTY SWITCH: Democratic state lawmakers in North Carolina are now fearing a large GOP legislative agenda push after state Rep. Tricia Cotham’s party switch to become a Republican. https://t.co/IcbYthE2pi pic.twitter.com/FpzNsOfFSq
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) April 9, 2023
While Representatives and Senators switching parties is nothing new and is a two-way street, the number of Democrats becoming Republicans is enough to get noticed. Going back to 1994, 173 state legislators have switched parties in the middle of their term. But it is who is doing the switching that Democrats might want to pay attention to. Of those 173 state lawmakers, 83 were Democrats who became Republicans. Only 23 went from Republican to Democrat. Since 2022, there have been switches in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Louisiana, not necessarily hard-core blue states, but those Democrat Party defections were enough to make some significant majority changes in those state houses.
In April of this year, State Delegate Elliott Pritt, a first-term Democrat, decided it was time to make the switch. It gave the already super majority in the West Virginia House a total of 89 seats to the Democrats, now at just 11. Of his decision, Pritt stated:
Even if I were to run again and win, I would look at another term of never getting another bill passed, never getting anything done. For the time I’m going to be there, I’m not going to sit there and be a lame duck and not get anything.
Elgine McArdle is the chairwoman of the West Virginia Republican Party. She welcomed Pritt to the party but may have also said what Pritt was afraid to: “I want to welcome Delegate Elliott Pritt to the Republican Party. Like so many West Virginians, Delegate Pritt has recognized that the Democratic Party of today is not the Democratic Party that our parents grew up with.” Pritt was preceded by his former colleague Mick Bates, who made the switch in 2021. And the shake-up in West Virginia may not be over. State Del. Doug Skaff, the House Minority Leader, recently resigned and is rumored to be considering a party switch. Skaff said of the switch rumors, “My name has always been tossed out there switching parties just because I lean more conservative, more moderate. I’ve always been that way.” Even current West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is a GOP convert.
In the past 20 years, more Democratic state lawmakers have switched to the Republican Party than the other way around. Internet trolls targeted one lawmaker, Mesha Mainor, with racist slurs after she switched parties. The Democratic Party is losing… https://t.co/IOWA9BHiaE
— AM1_NEWS (@am1_news) August 9, 2023
Longevity is not helping Democrats either. Louisiana State Rep. Francis Thompson is 81. He was first elected in 1975 as a Democrat, and became a Republican this year. Thompson’s switch gave Republicans a two-thirds majority in both houses for the first time. His colleague, Rep. Jeremy LaComb, soon followed. Thompson was to the point about the reason behind his decision, saying:
The push the past several years by Democratic leadership on both the national and state level to support certain issues does not align with those values and principles that are part of my Christian life.
A switch from Democrat to Republican has also given the GOP majorities in both North Carolina’s state houses with the switch by State Rep. Tricia Cotham. Cotham may have been the most truthful and outspoken about her exit from the Democrat Party, saying:
The modern-day Democratic Party has become unrecognizable to me and to so many others throughout this state and this country. The party wants to villainize anyone who has free thought, free judgement, has solutions and wants to get to work to better our state. If you don’t do exactly what the Democrats want you to do, they will try to bully you. They will try to cast you aside.
It is the Democrat Party’s extreme agenda of a failed economy, open borders, being soft on crime, and supporting things like abortion on demand, the transgender movement, and climate alarmism, that has brought them to the place where many Democrats can no longer in good conscience support it. Last month, Georgia State Rep. Mesha Mainor, who represents a very blue portion of the Atlanta area, was the latest to decide that the Democrat Party did not match her beliefs. A staunch advocate for school choice and parental rights, Mainor said that every Democrat was expected to “vote against children and for the teachers union.” And as a black lawmaker, she also stated this truth, “The most dangerous thing to the Democrat Party is a black person with a mind of their own.”
Currently, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, there are 7,386 State Reps and State Senators. Of those, 4,058 are Republicans. That comes out to 55 percent of the total number of state lawmakers. Note to Democrats: What you do in Washington, D.C., affects what happens at home in more ways than you think.
I’m changing my party from democrats to independent I don’t know what this Democratic Party is anymore it’s half cult and just tribal
— Leeanna Zielenski (@LeeannaZielens2) August 9, 2023