Thirteen legislators in five states leave Dems for the GOP

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November 30, 2010

Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine and South Dakota: The states of Alabama and Georgia are encountering multiple switches among lawmakers from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in the month after the November 2 general election. The two states are among five that will see legislators jump from the left side of the aisle to the right, as Louisiana, Maine and South Dakota are each only seeing one lawmaker change parties.

Alabama will now see a super-majority in the State House of Representatives as four State Representatives have switched party affiliations to the GOP. The post-election change came after all four stated that they were very conservative, and that their beliefs were more suited for the Republican Party. The four representatives that switched were: Mike Millican, Steve Hurst, Alan Boothe and Lesley Vance. The state lawmakers held a news conference on November 29, 2010 to announce their decisions.[1]

In the next state over, Georgia has a grand total of six state legislatures changing party loyalties, as State Representatives Alan Powell, Bob Hanner, Gerald Greene, Ellis Black, Amy Carter and State Senator Tim Golden joined the GOP in the weeks after the election was held.

In Louisiana, State Representative Walker Hines effectively gave Republicans the House Majority after switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican side. As a result, for the first time in modern Louisiana history, the GOP will be the majority party in that legislative chamber. According to Hines in a written statement, "Like most Louisianians, my discontent with the Democratic Party has grown over the past few years. This move is not about political expediency but rather my own principled philosophy."[2]

Following suit in switching gears to the GOP were Maine State Representative Michael Willette and South Dakota State Senator Eldon Nygaard. Nygaard said in a statement, "In my new role as a member of the Republican State Senate Caucus, I will continue to reach across the aisle to find solutions that work for my district and the people of South Dakota. This election brought a lot of changes across South Dakota and the nation. Voters sent a message to all elected officials – they want action and they want change. I firmly believe I can represent my district’s needs in Pierre more effectively as a member of the Republican Party." In Maine, Willette justified his switch by stating that the Democratic Party's agenda is too focused on the bidding of special interest groups.[3][4]

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