(USNewsMag.com) – West Virginia Del. Elliott Pritt is the latest Democrat to switch to the Republican Party. Pritt announced his switch April 17 and was accounted for on the official House roster for the West Virginia Legislature by late morning. Pritt is the delegate for Fayette County.
Republicans now have 89 members in the West Virginia House, compared to Democrats 11. In the Senate, Republicans also hold a supermajority, holding 31 out 34 seats while Democrats hold three.
In the November 2022 election, Pritt, who is a teacher, was elected to his first term after he defeated the Republican incumbent.
In a statement, Elgine McArdle, chairwoman of the West Virginia Republican Party, welcomed him to the Republican Party.
The West Virginia House minority leader Del. Doug Skaff issued a statement saying he was disappointed with the decision.
West Virginia has moved more Republican since the 2014 election, when Republicans regained control of both the West Virginia Senate and House for the first time in eight decades. In 2014, the number of registered Democrats in the state fell below 50%. The last time the number was less than 50% was 1932.
Currently, there are 39.6% of voters registered as Republicans in the state and 32.3% of voters registered as Democrats.
Pritt was the last Democrat in the House in West Virginia’s southern coalfields. Currently, the only Democrat to hold a statewide office in West Virginia is the U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.
In the last two months, other states have seen members of the Democrat Party switching to the Republican Party. In April, Louisiana Rep. Jeremy LaCombe announced his switch to the Republican Party. In North Carolina, when state Rep. Tricia Cotham’s April switched parties, Republicans gained a supermajority in the state House.
In March, Louisiana State Rep. Francis Thompson switched to the Republican party, which gave Republicans a supermajority in the state House.
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