AR Democrats switch to Republican party, more could come

AR Democrats switch to Republican party, more could come
(Source: Raycom Media)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Changing political parties after dedicating years to one side is becoming a trend in Arkansas.

In the last month, 3 longtime Democratic Arkansas politicians have announced their intentions to move to the Republican Party.

A Political Science professor at Arkansas State said he will not be surprised if this happens more with the upcoming 2016 election.

"This is big, in terms of symbolically, anyway," Arkansas State Political Science Professor Dr. Richard Wang said.

Wang said it's hard to get elected as a Democrat in Arkansas these days.

Former state Rep. Wes Wagner and Poinsett County Assessor Johnny Rye, Jr. announced over the weekend they are going red.

On Aug. 20, Rep. Mike Holcomb of Pine Bluff announced he would do the same.

Wang said all 3 site personal reasons, but this isn't the first time this has happened.

Wang said the Democratic Party has been hit hard when it comes to hot issues.

Historically, Wang said it comes down to the Bill Clinton Model when running as a Democrat in Arkansas.

"You're a Democrat, but you're not a Washington Democrat," Wang said. "You're not one of those, you're an Arkansas Democrat. Pryor used the phrase Arkansas First."

Wang said when politicians change parties it's symbolic because some have very such strong ties, including historic family ties.

He said he feels the negativity associated with the Democratic Party will pass eventually.

But Wang said don't be surprised if more candidates change their party affiliations before officially filing for office in November.

As for if it will work and get the candidates elected, Wang said the only way to know is to wait until the election.

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