Courtesy photo

Senator Evan Jenkins (D-Cabell) changed his party affiliation to Republican on Wednesday.

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.

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  • Danny wright

    He makes Benedict Arnold proud!

  • jlee

    Only a fool would vote for him. He is poison to WV working class citizens. He is nothing but for businesses! This shows how low our politics has gotten.

  • Rich

    Evan: Thanks for showing what most of us already knew about you. It must feel good to be out of the political closet. Now those of us who merely tolerated you can be more open in our opposition of you. I look forward to another unemployed Republican. I've never donated to a congressional campaign, but am sending Rahall a check today.

  • wvman75

    Anyone who cares about West Virginia and looks at the results and agenda of the democrats at both the state and national level should change political parties. Their policies do not reflect our citizens' values and are economically crippling our state. I commend him for recognizing that and making a change.

    • cutty77

      The Country was put in this Mess,by your Old Boy George W. If you look at numbers WV is in pretty good shape,now Obama has been very tuff on WV because we voted for The GOP. You forget many years ago when WV went against Ronnie Regan. He wore us out and brought our name up. He said WV you will learn who to vote for next time.

  • NorthernWVman

    Oh and I think it is funny how much of a cry baby Kessler is. I have never nor will I ever vote for such a person (not a man) as Kessler

  • NorthernWVman

    When has it become so important if you have a D or an R after your name? That does nto alone define the person. I vote for the person not the party.

    • cutty77

      @ NorthernWVman,
      You answered you own question. But the REAL REASON HE CHANGED IS BECAUSE HE SMELLS GOP MONEY. These Clowns could give a Damm about you or me or who's in The White House. Its all about the Money. Did you just not see what our Senator from WV did with Michael Bloomberg. Why do you think these guy is different.

  • rick

    Another expedient turncoat.

  • Fred W.

    Good luck to him. The Jeffersonian democrats lost out long ago to the coalfield communists of the party. There has long been a disconnect between the national and local interests of the democrats: abortion, firearms, immigration, environmental regulation, gay marriage, deficit reduction, entitlement reform, property rights, and personal responsibility are just a few of the examples. The party, like before the Civil War is basically held together by a spoils, pork and fear system that requires a perpetual cycle of " showing them the money" and telling voters the other guy will in some way lead to your death. When the spoils and prospective spoils no longer compensate for the trade in cultural values, party discipline breaks down and people begin to evaluate other options. Options they may have wanted to explore for quite some time, but were not worth the risk. I don't know if becoming a republican is the answer, but it is an alternative. To me it just feels like choosing the most comfortable pair of borrowed burlap underwear, and I suspect many of us are thinking about heading to the changing room to do it.


    I am tall and lanky and rather unattractive myself, but I dont think that has anything to do with my values, work ethic, or suitability for public office.

  • cutty77

    Why does this suprise anybody. He a Polictial Hack. Most of them belong to The Church of whats happening Now. Plus he will no shot at beating Nicky Joe. People in West Virginia don't like turn coats.He a Young Guy just looking for some money from the GOP. Like in the NFL when they do a Trade,and they say there will be player to be named later. This is Your Guy. LOL

    • Shadow

      Following your ideals upsets you democratic Socialists, doesn't it? I guess you and your Democratic followers would rather follow a fraudulent president who doesn't know what the words "Truth and Honesty" mean.

  • Jt

    Apparently the Republican Party bench is not very deep in the southern part of the state that they must do a rent a dem to try and win.

    • George

      Jt - While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, I see it more as Sen Jenkins finally saw the futility of continuing to try to work within the failed Democratic regime of the last 90 years which has created such a bad situation that few people are courageous enough to even run for office. I admire anyone, regardless of party, who has the ambition to jump into the fray. I wish more of them would stop the personal attacks, but then again we the public seem to respond to those attacks so they keep happening.

      • Tina B

        SEVENTEEN YEARS as a Democrat and FIVE YEARS into an Obama presidency, he finally sees the light? hmmmmm something tells me it may have been something else....just a thought

  • John weaver

    Yep another politician you can trust. He is more interested in the direction of the wind than helping people. He is typical politician today, serve yourself, serve your money sponsors and if there is a little time pretend to help people. GOP gross opportunist party, but still nothing great or grand in the GOP. When bob dole says he would not be welcome in the party you know they went off the deep end.

    • Fred W.

      I agree with the distrust of politicians and the Dole comment. But in the same vein of thinking, would John Kennedy be comfortable as a Democrat today?

      • Tina B

        JFK would be asking us all to stop looking at government to solve our problems and get out there and start a business.

        • WVUfan69

          Easier said than done in WV!

          • liberty4all

            How so? Despite the topography many have done it. Sadly, many of those folks go on TV every week and whine that businesses won't come here because they cannot succeed in this climate - all the while knowing they were able to succeed in the very climate they seek to change. The changes they push for wouldn't mean the difference of making it or not. It typically means the difference of making even more of it. I am a fan of capitalism, not of hypocrisy.

  • liberty4all

    I see in the attached photo Senator Cole is with him. Surprised Bray wasn't there to join the party. Oh well, I'll expect to see Sen. Jenkins on Decision Makers now that he is an R instead of a D. They will continue to bemoan how it is impossible to be successful in WV (all depsite their personal successes - I guess the kind of hard work they put in is unique to them and would not work for the rest of us). Heck, all 3 (and Sen. Carmichael too) can continue to conveniently ignore that Mr. Jenkins is an attorney since that would make their attacks on attorneys hypocritical. We will continue to hear the false analogy that if we bend over and give business everything they want (no taxes, no liability, larger profits), we too can be like KY, OH, PA and VA. Problem is, welfare is welfare, whether personal or corporate. And nobody is dying to be like Southeast OH, Eastern KY, Central PA, or Southwest VA (as those are the areas most like WV). Government should get out of the way of business, but give them nothing. Otherwise it is picking winners and losers.

    Political opportunism is not leadership. Can anyone identify to me how the state (not national) democratic party has changed soooo much in the last couple of years that it demands abandonment from a committed member of so many years? If Rahall no longer represents the best interests of his constituents, than run against him in the primary. Oh, that's right, then you would have to run a campaign where you would have to work to raise money (versus getting it from the national party) and you might actually have to spend some of your own.

    This is a cheap, easy way to potential political advancement. Unfortunately, it comes at a heavy price for Mr. Jenkins. Should he lose, Obama will not be on the ticket any longer. While the R's think they are on the brink of taking over the state, we will see a return to D prominence once Obama is gone.

    I do not say this as a Rahall supporter or a defender of the D party. I say this as a libertarian who is tired of political hypocrisy from both sides and tired of people thinking government, or its representatives, is the solution to our problems.

    • Vinnie

      Wow, a libertarian full of wisdom...not....If you cannot take a side then don't backseat drive. Someone has to take a stand and a view. There is hypocrisy and crookedness everywhere. One should not settle for it but take a stand and fight it. Don't just play from the sidelines Liberty4all. Get in the game with a solution rather than platitudes. The people will speak.

    • thinkaboutit

      The smartest thing I have had the plessure to read on here today....

  • Jeremy Bauserman

    Welcome to the GOP Senator Evan Jenkins.

    • cutty77

      Yes The Fair an Balanced GOP i might Add.

  • Carmen

    The telling sign here is he must change parties to challenge for this seat that is so controlled by the Unions and blind Democratic Party loyalists that have allowed this District to rot as it has over the too long tenure of the Incumbent. Brace yourself West Virginia a win by Jenkins here can be the epicenter of a change for the betterment in this State that has been so exploited and destroyed by the selfish above mentioned special interests. Good luck to him

    • FRANK

      I agree with you Carmen - only I would add that we need to hold all office holders, regardless of party, accountable for their selfish ambition. In our state, most of those people tend to be Democrats - who need to take responsibility for the current conditions of our society.

    • Tina B

      So selfish is being elected by WVians as a Democrat and staying a Democrat vs being elected by WVians as a Democrat and switching to Republican?

      Me thinks the "Campaign for Jenkins" people are commenting today. lol

      • Vinnie

        No, just calling it as I see it. It is impossible in that area to be heard above the din of the special interests without doing something drastic. It may be self-serving; but nobody can judge that at this point. Let the people speak. If he is not elected; then it will be clear what the people think and likewise as well

    • Vinnie

      Well said indeed.

    • Aaron Hatfield