JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Republican Party is welcoming some new members and all of them were elected public offices as Democrats or Independents in this most recent election cycle.
The Mississippi Republican Party Chairman says he doesn’t expect this will be the last time they are welcoming new members to the GOP.
“We have had a relentless focus on switching conservative Democrats over to the Republican party," explained MSGOP Chairman Lucien Smith. "They recognize increasingly that there is only one party that represents the conservative values of our state and that is the Republican party.”
All eight of the latest party switchers were from Smith and Covington Counties and one District Attorney whose district covers those areas. But the conservation didn’t take long to expand to the national party ties.
“We are in a scenario in this country where you can choose to be a member of the party led by Donald J. Trump or you can choose to be a member of the socialist Democratic party led by Bernie Sanders,” noted Governor Tate Reeves.
Millsaps Department of Government and Politics chair Dr. Nathan Shrader says given the GOP sweep in statewide offices last year and the approval rating for Donald Trump, it opens the door to this.
“They have a plausible argument to make with these elected officials that your constituent are already aligning with us, the voting patterns in your district are moving in our direction, you should join the team too,” said Dr. Shrader.
One of the party switchers echoed that thought.
“There are conservatives Democrats all across the state of Mississippi and there was once upon a time when the conservative Democrats controlled this state," explained 13th Circuit Court District Attorney Matt Sullivan. "It’s a new day in Mississippi and I believe the Republican party is growing and there’s a place in the Republican party for people like me.”
The eight officials who joined the MSGOP are:
- Matt Sullivan, District Attorney for the Thirteenth Circuit Court District (Covington, Jasper, Simpson and Smith Counties), (Former Democrat)
- Guy Easterling, Chancery Clerk (Former Independent)
- Bobby Wayne Mooney, Justice Court Judge for the Northern District of Covington County (Former Independent)
- Cindy Austin, Chancery Clerk (Former Democrat)
- Anthony Grayson, Circuit Clerk (Former Democrat)
- Mary Lou Powell, Tax Assessor-Collector (Former Democrat)
- Danny Arender, Beat 4 Supervisor (Former Democrat)
- Hulon West, Justice Court Judge for the Southern District of Smith County (Former Democrat)