PSC Member Callahan Confirms His Switch To Republican Party

Southern District Public Service Commissioner Michael Callahan told The Associated Press on Monday that he's becoming a Republican because he no longer feels comfortable as a Democrat.

"Over the past couple of years, it's just something that has been brewing. I think there's a lot of Democratic politicians out there that are like me,'' Callahan, 36, said.

"The Democratic Party here in Mississippi is moving more to the left and it's becoming tougher and tougher for conservative politicians like myself to find a place in the party,'' he said.

Mississippi Republican Party chairman Jim Herring planned to announce Callahan's party switch later Monday at the state Capitol.

State Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole was not immediately available for comment.

Three statewide elected Republican officials - Gov. Haley Barbour, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, state Auditor Phil Bryant - are to attend the announcement.

Callahan was first elected to the PSC in 1999 and won a second term last fall. He and his family live in Hattiesburg.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)