CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia Wesleyan political science professor says party switching is the exception, not the rule, in the Mountain State.
Last week, Cabell County State Senator Evan Jenkins changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican and immediately announced his plans to run for Congress in West Virginia’s Third District next year.
He will potentially challenge Third District Congressman Nick Rahall in the 2014 General Election.
In 2010, Rahall defeated another Democrat turned Republican in Spike Maynard, a former state Supreme Court Justice.
Other West Virginia politicians who have switched parties in the past include Jay Rockefeller, who left the Republican Party for the Democratic Party when he ran for the House of Delegates in 1966, and U.S. Senator Rush Holt, Sr., who was first elected as a Democrat and then became a Republican.
Current state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry went from Independent to Republican in 2011.
“We have a tradition, both in the nation and in West Virginia of switchers, but, again, they’re the exception,” said Rupp.