West Virginia lawmaker switches to GOP, 'cannot continue down the road' of Democrat Party

"I have come to the conclusion that to be an effective delegate for the people of my district and to accurately represent the will of my people, I can no longer in good conscious remain a Democrat."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Monday, West Virginia Delegate Elliott Pritt became the fourth lawmaker in recent weeks to switch from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party.

According to Fox News, Pritt, who works as a teacher, is a freshman delegate who defeated the Republican incumbent in the 2022 election.

In a letter to the House Democratic Caucus, Pritt wrote, "This decision has not been made lightly nor on a whim, and after weeks of personal consideration, soul searching, and discussion with my family and many of those who supported my election and campaign, I have come to the conclusion that to be an effective delegate for the people of my district and to accurately represent the will of my people, I can no longer in good conscious remain a Democrat."

"I simply cannot continue down the road that the Democratic Party is headed if I am to accurately represent my constituents and my people as well as my own conscience."

West Virginia Republican Party chairwoman Elgine McArdle issued a statement welcoming Pritt into the party’s ranks.

"I want to welcome Delegate Elliott Pritt to the Republican Party. Like so many West Virginians, Delegate Pritt has recognized that the Democratic Party of today is not the Democratic Party that our parents grew up with," she said.

The Republican Party now has 89 seats in the West Virginia House, with the Democrat Party’s seats dropping to 11. According to Fox, Pritt’s change in party was accounted for by late Monday morning on the West Virginia Legislature's official House roster. Pritt was the last Democrat Delegate from the state’s southern coalfields.

"The Democratic Party of today is the party of crime and lawlessness, the party of mobs, unchecked illegal immigration, runaway government spending, late-term abortion, and government overreach. The Democratic Party lacks any accountability, yet they abuse governmental powers to suppress those who dare to oppose their opinions," she said.

"The Republican Party is the party of traditional American values," McArdle said. "We support the right to life, the right to keep and bear arms, strong national security, the traditional family, fiscal restraint, and we are proud of America." 

The West Virginia Democrat Party also issued a statement following Pritt’s announcement.

State Chairman Del. Mike Pushkin said, "The only thing you can be sure of with Elliott Pritt is that there’s nothing he won’t do in the name of political expediency."

House Minority Leader Doug Skaff said, "Obviously, I’m disappointed in Elliott‘s decision to switch parties. It’s kind of odd that, just a few weeks ago, he was one of the most vocal Democrats working within our caucus to call out and hold Republicans accountable for their legislative agenda. Elliott made it clear that the Republicans had their priorities wrong on numerous occasions, and I’m curious to see how well he’ll be received within his new caucus."

The move comes after Louisiana Rep. Jeremy LaCombe announced that he left the Democrat Party, with fellow Louisiana Rep. Francis Thomas giving the Republicans in the state House the supermajority after his departure from the party in March.

Earlier this month, North Carolina Rep. Tricia Cotham gave the Republicans in her state the supermajority with her switch from Democrat to Republican.


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