HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – He’s making the change.
Cabell County State Senator Evan Jenkins (D-Cabell) signed the paperwork Wednesday morning at the Cabell County Courthouse changing his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
Jenkins said he is planning to challenge longtime Third District Congressman Nick Rahall next year. He’ll talk about his decision on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” shortly after making the party change.
Jenkins also has a news conference scheduled at the courthouse in Huntington at 10:30 a.m.
Late Tuesday, Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall) stripped Jenkins of his leadership positions in the Senate. Jenkins had served as Chairman of the Minority Affairs and Pensions Committees and Vice Chairman of Health and Human Resources.
“I do not want anyone on my leadership team or in a leadership position who does not show decisiveness or loyalty,” said Kessler in a statement.
West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio was also quick to criticize Jenkins Wednesday saying in a prepared release:
“When Washington Republican money can a knockin’, Jenkins went a walkin’.”
Jenkins has served in the 5th Senate District, an area that covers parts of Cabell County and Wayne County, as a Democrat since 2002. Before that, he was a member of the state House of Delegates for three terms.
Rahall was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976.