A former Republican state senator is switching to the Democratic and starting a campaign to unseat the sitting Republican Lt. Governor. The switch is an outlier in a trend that has seen dozens of Democrats become Republicans.
Former state senator and former Madison County supervisor Tim Johnson announced his party switch before a raucous crowd in the state capitol yesterday.
Johnson, who served two terms in the state senate as a Republicans, says he is feed up with the Republican party and that the GOP's decision to reject federal money to expand Medicaid in Mississippi was the last straw.
"I have seen that the Republican Party does not exist to serve the people anymore. It has quit trying to help people. Now it is controlled by big corporate money and seeks to drive a bigger wedge between the haves and the have-nots," Johnson said.
Johnson will challenge sitting Lt. Governor Tate Reeves who is seeking re-election.
The switch is notable because, in recent years, dozens of state and local Democrats have switched to the Republican party.
Mississippi Democratic Party Chair Rickey Cole says he thinks this switch is just the beginning.
"I think that this the tip of the iceberg of a lot of dissatisfaction with the state Republican Party. And over time, you will see a shift," Cole said.
In a written statement, the campaign manager for Lt. Governor Reeves says Mississippians are proud of his conservative record and that his supporters will out work any competition.
Johnson has a tough challenge, recent campaign finance reports show Reeves has more than two-million dollars to spend on the campaign.