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Three More State Democrats Become Republicans

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 28 Dec 2010 02:35pm | comments
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith announces her decision to change parties.

Three more elected Mississippi Democrats have decided to switch parties and become Republicans. In all, 17 democrats have made the switch in the last two years. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the changes won't really alter the direction of the state legislature.

Simpson County Superintendent of Education Joe Welch, State Representative Bobby Shows of Ellisville and State Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Brookhaven announced Tuesday they're switching parties.

"We are not going to have to bring out any smelling salts to bring anybody around because my voting record is extremely conservative," Hyde-Smith said.

Both state legislators say they have always voted as conservatives and that the switch makes sense. Senator Hyde-Smith says nothing about her will change.

"I'm an extreme conservative and I think my voting record really shows that," Hyde-Smith said.

The party switch does not come as a big shock to Representative Steven Holland, a democrat from Plantersville.

"Both of them have acted like Republicans for a long time. I hope they are at home in that party, I wish them well. They are both very credible human beings and more power to it," Holland said.

This change does not alter the balance of power in the state legislature.

University of Mississippi political scientist John Bruce says all this party switching does not represent a major political shift because both parties in Mississippi are quite similar.

"To use a football analogy, the ideological contest between Democrats and Republicans in Mississippi is between the 20 and the 30. We are not really playing on the whole field," Bruce said.

Bruce says this is part of a much longer trend toward the Republican Party that has been happening across the south since the 1960's.

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Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith announces her decision to change parties.


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