Politics /

West Virginia Senator Leaves Democratic Party, Expands Republican Supermajority

West Virginia State Senator Glenn Jeffries has left his party and joined the Republicans.

The move adds to the Republican supermajority in the state.

After the midterm elections, the GOP had a 30-seat majority in the 34-member Senate — now it is 31.

Jeffries, who was elected as a Democrat in 2016, represents parts of Kanawha and Putnam counties. During his campaign, he had vowed to reach across the aisle and “work in a bipartisan way,” something he has said he hopes to continue.

“Our politics have gotten so personal and difficult,” said Sen. Jeffries in a statement, which was obtained by local station WBOY. “I want to make sure that I serve constituents and our state in a respectful, thoughtful way that leads to a better life for all West Virginians.”

The state senator was vague about the reason for his shift in the statement, but the West Virginia Democratic Party said Sen. Jeffries had “discomfort with Democratic Party values.”

In an interview with West Virginia Metro News, Sen. Jeffries said that he believes he can be more effective for West Virginians as a Republican.

Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito celebrated the shift.

“It’s great to hear that West Virginia State Senator Glenn Jeffries is joining the Republican Party,” Capito said, according to the WBOY report. “As the senior-elected leader of West Virginia’s Grand Old Party, Glenn will be a great addition to our ranks. He is a proven business leader and his ongoing work in attracting new employers and opportunities to West Virginia makes him a great fit in our Republican Party.”

Tony Hodge, the Putnam County Republican Party Chairman and the Co-Chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party also welcomed Sen. Jeffries.

“I warmly welcome Senator Glenn Jeffries into the West Virginia Republican Party,” Hodge told Metro News. “Senator Jeffries has proven himself to be a very hard worker for Putnam County. His efforts to improve infrastructure such as water and sewer services as well as road maintenance have been exemplary.”

Hodge said that the senator is placing policy over party with the shift.

“Glenn described himself to me as a ‘conservative,’ and we agreed that his policy efforts in the State Senate would be elevated if he joined the majority Republican caucus. Glenn also expressed to me his discomfort with the leftward direction of the Democratic Party and that he no longer identifies with them.”

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