West Virginia Democrats are continuing to lose ground as one of the few state senators they have left has decided to switch parties.
State Sen. Glenn Jeffries announced his decision to his 8th District constituents on Thursday, according to WVAH-TV.
The senator’s statement did not reveal his reasons for joining the Republican side.
“I have the greatest respect for the many friends and supporters I have been blessed with during my time in public office,” Jeffries said in the statement. “I hope to continue and strengthen those relationships going forward.”
According to MetroNews, Jeffries added, “Our politics have gotten so personal and difficult. 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.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) December 1, 2022
Jeffries has recently received credit for helping to bring economic development to his corner of the state, including a $500 million investment from Berkshire Hathaway.
Before his switch, Jeffries was one of just four Democrats in the West Virginia upper chamber.
State Democrats are none too pleased with his decision to hop the fence.
“For Senator Jeffries to claim he doesn’t like the direction of the Democratic Party, barely a week after his new party’s de facto leader had dinner with a Holocaust-denying white supremacist, is like being called ugly by a frog,” said West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Mike Pushkin, who also serves in the House of Delegates.
Pushkin was referring to former President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.
Pushkin pointed to Jeffries’ record on climate policy as something that may cause him issues in his new party.
“Just last year Senator Jeffries received the highest score of any West Virginia Senator from Climate Cabinet Action, a national group dedicated to supporting the best climate and environmental justice champions in statehouses across the country,” Pushkin said in a statement.
“Hopefully, Glenn will be permitted to continue to be an environmental justice champion in his new party.”
Republicans have welcomed Jeffries with open arms, with local GOP leader Tony Hodge releasing a statement congratulating Jeffries.
“I warmly welcome Senator Glenn Jeffries into the West Virginia Republican Party,” Hodge said. “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.”
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