CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio says he is interested in candidates and elected officials who can choose a side. “I want people that, when they make a commitment on election day, that they live up to their commitment,” said Puccio.
Ohio County Delegate Ryan Ferns became the latest Democrat to change his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican when he made the switch, earlier this week, and launched a campaign for the state Senate in the First District.
During his announcement, Ferns said, “I’ve just reached the point where I think that, for the betterment of West Virginia and my district, I think the Republican Party’s views are what’s best for the state.”
Puccio says he thinks Ferns, who first became a member of the House in 2010, would have lost a reelection bid for the House as a Democrat.
“The folks with the Republican Party said, ‘Hey, we’ll give you an opportunity,’ and so he made the decision of taking this opportunity for himself, not for the people of his area,” Puccio claimed.
“We want to work with people that really want to make a commitment to serving the families, the people, the veterans, our seniors in West Virginia and we’re not out to make this a game. We’re out to truly serve the people of West Virginia.”
Puccio, a guest on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” said those with the Democratic Party do not recruit “theirs,” meaning Republicans.
With the switch from Ferns, the House numbers will stand at 53-47, with Democrats in charge, when the 2014 Regular Legislative Session begins Jan. 8. The split in the state Senate is 24-10.
If he is nominated in May, Ferns could face current Ohio County Senator Rocky Fitzsimmons (D-1) in the 2014 November General Election.