At a press conference at the Mississippi Republican Party building in Jackson, chairman Brad White announced that seven of the county’s elected officials were switching their party affiliations from Democrat to Republican.
• District 13 District Attorney Eddie Bowen
• Sheriff Kenneth Lewis
• Supervisor Mickey Berry
• Justice Court Judge Eugene Knight
• Constable Dan Easterling
• D’Lo Alderman Michael Shoemaker
• Coroner Terry Tutor, who was just appointed to the post after the death of the incumbent.
"I think we’ve seen that the Democratic Party is starting to lose its luster," White said, alluding to today’s events and to the GOP’s victory in gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. "The star power of President Obama is starting to wear off due to the leftist policies of him and the Democratic Congress."
White, who was born and raised in Simpson County, said it was especially gratifying that seven of its officials had flipped to the GOP. With Berry’s switch, the Simpson County Board of Supervisors is now majority Republican.
If the Republicans can gain control of local politics that have long been dominated by Democrats, the party can keep winning at the state and national level, White said. Seven of Mississippi’s eight statewide elected officials are Republicans. Attorney General Jim Hood is the lone Democrat. Only one of Mississippi’s four Congressman is Republican, 3rd District Rep. Gregg Harper, whose district includes Simpson County.
"Increasingly we’re seeing counties like Simpson, not just the big counties like Lauderdale and Harrison and Jackson, but middle-sized counties where good elected officials who’ve done a good job who decide that it’s not good enough to stay a Democrat just because you’ve always been a Democrat," said Gov. Haley Barbour. "With what’s going on in Washington, now is the time for right-thinking Mississippians at the county level to make a statement. Don’t think things like this are not heard by people in Washington."
Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Franks did not immediately return a call to his cell phone seeking comment.