It's qualifying time again! It will be interesting to see how many Democratic officeholders switch to the Republican Party. There have been two so far: A State Senator with the last name of Walley and MDAC Commissioner Lester Spell. I'm sure there will be more popping up before March 1st.
Personally, I'd rather have them stay in the Democratic Party for two reasons. First of all, I'd rather see a Republican beat them because it'll show the true strength of the GOP. Secondly, the switcher makes the Democratic Party and the GOP more liberal. Most of the switchers are too conservative for the Democrats and not conservative enough for the GOP grassroots.
Take my state representative (please), Ray Rogers R-61. He was elected in 1983 as a Democrat. He defeated Ron Morgan in the runoff by a narrow margin of 200 votes. No Republican ran against him. In 1987, he again ran as a Democrat. Billy Brunt (his 1983 opponent in the first Democratic primary) switched parties and ran against Rogers in the general election. Brunt was the first Republican ever to run for state representative in that district. Even though he lost, he got 36% of the vote and was going to run against him in 1991. And 1987 was a Democratic year.
In October 1989, he switched parties. Rogers came before our Rankin County Republican Executive Committee (RCREC) and stated he would run as a Republican in 1991. He said he was basically a conservative and you already know the spiel. He was unopposed in 1991.
Was he now a strong conservative? Nope. Back in 1992, the late Gov. Kirk Fordice vetoed a bill raising the sales tax and doing away with deducting the state income tax on your state tax return. I called Rogers and asked him to sustain the veto. He went on and on telling me how important it was for him to vote to override. I told him it would cost me at least ten to twenty dollars a month. I'll never forget his reply, "John, you're a CPA. You can afford to pay it." I was royally pissed off. Some conservative. I never voted for him again.
In 2003, he signed a pledge stating he would not vote for a tax increase. Well, he voted to increase some fees, stating that fees were not taxes. Why don't we call an increase in taxes a "government investment in the people"? I'll bet you dollars to donuts he'd vote for the tax increase.
Let's look at a real loser who is no more a conservative than my kitty cat is: Lester Spell. He's one of the bright lights who gave us that beef plant fiasco (along with that blowhard Rep. Steve Holland and House Speaker Billy McCoy). He can spend those dollars. Right after that beef plant mess he switched to the GOP. His reason was that he was more in tune with the GOP than the Democrats when it came to spending issues. I'll bet the GOP was real happy.
There are rumors State Sen. Perry Lee may run against Spell in the GOP primary. I don't care who runs against Spell. I'll vote for that candidate. And if Spell should win the primary, I'll vote for the Democrat.
State Democratic Party chairman Wayne Dowdy despises party switchers. I agree with him. A candidate runs as a Democrat and gets elected thanks to state party money and volunteers. Right after he's elected he decides to switch to the GOP. Would I be pissed off if I were Dowdy? You bet your sweet bippy I would.
There should be a state law that if you switch parties before the qualifying period, you must resign your political post and run for election under the new party label. That is not going to happen, but it would be fair. No political party should be forced to spend their hard-earned dollars only to have them blown away because of a party switcher.
I wish a lot of die-hard conservatives would stay in the Democratic Party and not switch. The conservative movement needs Democrats as well as Republicans. I have found out most of the party switchers have made the GOP a lot more "moderate." Believe me, if they were die-hard conservatives they would have run as Republicans in the first place. There are some who switched because they really did have philosophical problems with the Democrats and switched to the GOP. But most of them are those who are political whores who would sell out just for their political ambitions.
As for me, I am very conservative. But if I ran for office, I would seriously consider running as a Democrat. The reason is the Democratic Party needs conservatives. I would probably lose in Rankin County, but at least the Democratic Party and the conservative movement would have a voice. One party (the GOP) must not have a monopoly on the conservative movement. Perhaps if we had more conservatives in the Democratic Party, it wouldn't be so liberal. But because of a very bitter enemy who is a die-hard Democrat and was once chairman of the Rankin County Democratic Executive Committee, I'll probably remain a Republican.