Trading places: More lawmakers are swapping political parties

For Elliott Pritt, defecting to the GOP was an obvious choice.

The West Virginia lawmaker comes from an area of the state that used to be solidly blue — voters sent a Democrat to his seat in the state House for 24 straight years. But attitudes in his district have recently swung towards Republicans, credited largely to the decline of coal and anger over environmental restrictions.

So Pritt abandoned the Democratic Party and registered as a Republican in April. He was motivated by a desire to more effectively represent his constituents and take advantage of the opportunities enjoyed by Republicans who wield supermajority control in the state Legislature.

“Even if I were to run again and win, I would look at another term of never getting another bill passed, never getting anything done,” said Pritt, a social studies teacher. “For the time I’m going to be there I’m not going to sit there and be a lame duck and not get anything.”

Pritt is one of the 10 state lawmakers nationwide who have switched parties in 2023, according to Ballotpedia. That includes six who jumped from one of the major parties to the other. In 2022, by contrast,

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