Two New Republican State Representatives
At a press conference this afternoon- which is becoming a pretty regular event these days- the Mississippi Republican Party welcomed two new members to the party. Representatives Russ Nowell of Louisville and Margaret Rogers of New Albany formally made the switch and gave Republicans number 52 and 53 in the House of Representatives.
Rogers is a two-term Democrat who faced no opposition in 2007. That January, she supported Jeff Smith for Speaker. Nowell is in his first term after defeating Republican James Gregory by just 66 votes. A third candidate- Harvey Darden- received about eight percent of the vote meaning Nowell won with just 46 percent overall. He also supported Smith for Speaker.
As of today, the Democratic advantage is down to 69-53 in the House. While Republicans hit the symbolic 50 mark for the first time in their history last years, the Democrats are now under 70 members for the first time in their history. This also means that the portion that the Black Caucus makes up in the Democratic caucus continues to grow. There are 37 LBC members compared to 32 white Democrats.
This also means the Billy McCoy dissenters are getting even smaller inside the Democratic caucus. With these two switches, there are just seven left in the Democratic Party (including Jeff Smith). Six others are now Republicans.
Nowell and Rogers have been added to our running list of party switchers which you can view here.