Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Franks was unavailable for comment when my story about the seven Simpson County officials who joined the GOP today was ready to post on the MBJ’s Web site. There’s a good reason he didn’t answer his cell phone. Franks, an attorney, is in the middle of a trial up in Batesville. He was kind enough to call back just a few minutes ago.
Franks didn’t know about the Simpson Seven until we told him. As you might imagine, he wasn’t thrilled with the news.
“When you stand for election for one party, you should remain that until the end of the term or resign and have to run for election immediately,” said Franks, who added that concept should apply to Democrats flipping to the GOP and vice versa.
Franks, when he was in the Legislature, said he introduced legislation that would ban this sort of thing but it did not advance past the House floor.
“I think it’s wrong to hold yourself out as one thing and then switch,” he said.
The Democratic Party has room for conservatives, Franks said, refuting the often-recited line of former Democrats who claim, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me.” At every party-jumping event that features Democrats joining Republicans Magnolia Marketplace has ever been to, somebody has uttered that phrase, or something similar. Sen. Nolan Mettetal of Sardis said it last year at the Panola County Legislative Reception. The head of the Simpson County Republican Party, Jan Magee, said it again today.
Franks said that if every pro-life Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives were to become Republican, Democrats would no longer hold a majority in that body.
“The Democratic Party is the party of the big tent,” Franks said. “Not every Democrat believes in abortion, gay marriage or taking everybody’s guns.”