Party switching in the United States
United States politics, party switching is any change in party affiliation of a partisan public figure, usually one who is currently holding elected office. In the United States' dominant two-party system, the switches most commonly occur between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, although there have also been a number of notable switches to and from third parties, and even between third parties. Use of the term party switch often connotes a transfer of held power from one party to another.
The majority of party switchers in the modern era have switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. This behavior has been most widespread in the South, especially during the Civil Rights movement, due to the Democratic Party's positions on civil rights and social issues which were unpopular at the time in this predominantly conservative region. President
Lyndon B. Johnsonfamously remarked, upon signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, "We have just lost the South for a generation."
There are a number of reasons why an elected official, or someone seeking office, might choose to switch parties. One reason is ethical obligation--the person feels their views are no longer aligned with those of their current party.
A second reason is to gain power and influence. The
incumbentmay be a member of the minorityparty in a legislatureand would like to gain the advantages of being in the majority party, such as the potential to chair a committee.
The nineteenth century
The shifting of allegiance between political parties was much more common during the nineteenth century than it is today. It took several years for political parties as we know them today to coalesce after the founding of the United States, and many parties formed and fell apart rapidly.
A massive party switch occurred in the 1800s and 1810s when many members of the
United States Federalist Partyjoined the United States Democratic-Republican Party. When this party fell apart in the 1820s, its members all switched to various political parties, including the United States Whig Party, as well as the Democratic, National Republican, Anti-Jackson and Anti-Mason Parties. The Republican Party was also formed by a massive party switch in 1854 when northern members of the Whig, American and Free Soil parties, along with a few northern Democrats, formed the Republican Party, and many Southern Whigs became Democrats. Following the United States Civil Warthe Republican Party faced several massive party switches. As Reconstruction ended, many Southern Republicans became Democrats. In 1872 Republicans dissatisfied with President Ulysses S. Grantformed the Liberal Republican Partyand had a joint presidential campaign with the Democrats. Most Liberal Republicans soon returned to the main Republican Party, however. A similar situation occurred in 1884 when the mugwumps left the Republican Party and supported the Democratic presidential candidate, later rejoining the Republican party. The next major conflict in the Republican Party occurred in 1896 when Republican supporters of Free silverleft the party to form the Silver Republicans, though again most of these politicians later rejoined the Republican Party. By the late 19th century, as the Democratic and Republican parties became more established, however, party switching became less frequent.
The twentieth century
The shifts in American
voter demographicsbeginning in the second half of the twentieth century - the southern states from Democratic to Republican, and New Englandand the west coastal states from Republican to Democratic - have prompted several incumbent federal legislators and many state legislators to switch parties.
Notable party switchers
Notable party switchers of the modern era include:
Democrat to Republican
Hannibal Hamlin, before running for governor of Maine, later Vice President of the United States
Simon Cameron, before running for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
Galusha A. Grow, while U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, later Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
*1860s - Benjamin Franklin Butler
James M. Hinds
*mid 1860s -
*mid 1860s -
John A. Logan
*mid 1860s -
John Adams Dix
Ulysses S. Grant
David P. Lewis, before running for Governor of Alabama
James Lawrence Orr, judge of the Eighth Circuit in South Carolinaand former governor of South Carolina
James A. Walker, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, turned Republican before running for Congress
Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo
Theodore A. Bell
Raymond Moley, due to anger over the New Deal
Wendell Willkie, before running for President in 1940
*late 1940s -
Spiro Agnew, future Vice President
Joseph A. McArdle
Rush D. Holt Sr.
John Tower, while in college
Bill Brock, as a young man
Henry Hyde, U.S. Representative from Illinoisfrom 1975 to 2007.
Cora Brown, MichiganState Senator and first female African-AmericanState Senator
Francis Grevemberg, before running for Governor of Louisiana
Dud Lastrapes, as a television anchorman long before he was elected mayorof Lafayette, Louisiana
*early 1960s -
Arthur Ravenel, Jr., before running for the South Carolina State Senate
James F. Byrnes, after endorsing many Republicans in the 1950s and 60s
Charlton Lyons, to support Richard Nixonfor U.S. Presidentand to run for Congress in a special electionin 1961
Claude Kirk, to support Nixon for president. He returned to the Democrats in 1978in a failed gubernatorial bid.
Billy J. Guin, to support Charlton Lyons for Congress
*1962 - Jack Cox, to run for Governor of
James D. Martin, to run for the U.S. Senatefrom Alabama
Ronald Reagan, while an actor and former SAG President
Floyd Spence, while a state representative from South Carolina; ran for the House of Representatives as a Republican and lost, later elected to the state senate before making a successful run for the House
David C. Treen, when making his first race for U.S. representative
Strom Thurmond, while U.S. senator from South Carolina
*1965 - Albert Watson, while U.S. Representative from
South Carolina(resigned before switching parties and re-won his seat in a special election)
Arlen Specter, while running for Philadelphia District Attorney
*mid 1960s -
Thomas Wofford, before write-in campaign for State Senator from South Carolina
Len E. Blaylock, to support Winthrop Rockefellerfor Governor of Arkansas
Jerry Thomasson, before running for Attorney General of Arkansas
Henry Grover, before being elected to the Texas Senate
William Dannemeyer, after leaving the California State Assembly
Allison Kolb, to run for state treasurerin Louisiana in 1968
*1968 - Bill Archer, while a member of the
TexasHouse of Representatives
John Henry Baker, while preparing to run for the Louisiana State Senate
*late 1960s -
Thad Cochran, before serving as Mississippi executive director of Richard Nixon's 1968 Presidential campaign.
*late 1960s -
Bob Barr, while in college, later switched to the Libertarian Party
Michael S. Steele, as a young man
David Beasley, as a young man
Jesse Helms, two years before running for the U.S. Senatefrom North Carolina
A. C. Clemons, while serving in the Louisiana Senate
William Oswald Mills, before running for U.S. Representative from Maryland
Tillie K. Fowler
Sam Yorty, while Mayor of Los Angeles
Robert R. Neall, before serving in the Maryland House of Delegates. He switched back to Democrat in 1999
Trent Lott, while running for the House of Representatives from Mississippi. He was administrative assistant to Rules Committee chairman William Colmer, who endorsed Lott as his successor despite Lott's party switch.
Mills E. Godwin Jr., Democratic governor of Virginiafrom 1966 to 1970, moved to the Republican Party and was reelected, serving as governor again from 1974 to 1978.
Samuel I. Hayakawa, three years before running for the U.S. Senatefrom California
John Connally, not then in office; six years before he sought the Republican presidential nomination
Elizabeth Dole, while employed by the Federal Trade Commission
John Jarman, while U.S. Representative from Oklahoma. He had served for 24 years in the House and said he was fed up with the Democratic party, which had been "taken over by liberals". He retired in 1976.
A. J. McNamara, while serving in the Louisiana House
Lane Carsonwhile serving in the Louisiana House
Robert G. Jones, after leaving the Louisiana Senate
Michele Bachmann, currently a U.S. Representative from Minnesota
*late 1970s -
Thomas Bliley, after being Mayor of Richmond, Virginia, and before election to U.S. House of Representatives
*late 1970s -
Michael F. "Mike" Thompson, while serving in the Louisiana House
*late 1970s - Chris Smith, currently a U.S. Representative from New Jersey
Jim Gerlach, currently a U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania
Charles Grisbaum, Jr.
*early 1980s -
S. S. DeWitt, after having left the Louisiana House of Representatives
Pat McCrory, currently the mayor of Charlotteand the 2008 Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina
Mike Pence, currently a U.S. Representative from Indiana
Mel Martinez, currently a U.S. Senator from Florida
Paul Broun, currently a U.S. Representative from Georgia
Mac Collins, while county commissioner
Jim Donelon, to run for Congress in a special election
Jesse Monroe Knowles, while serving near the end of his term in the Louisiana Senate
Frank D. White, to run for governor of Arkansas
J.C. "Sonny" Gilbert, after having left office as a member of both houses of the Louisiana legislature
Bob Stump, while U.S. Representative from Arizona
Eugene Atkinson, while U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania
Jimmy Fitzmorris, to attempt to regain the office of Louisiana lieutenant governor
Phil Gramm, while U.S. Representative from Texas(resigned before switching parties and re-won his seat in a special election)
Bob Martinez, while mayorof Tampa, Florida
Andy Ireland, while U.S. Representative from Florida
*mid 1980s -
H. Edward Knox; became an independent in 2005
Jeane Kirkpatrick, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Edward J. King, former governor of Massachusetts
Dexter Lehtinen, while serving in the FloridaHouse of Representatives
Kent Hance, former U.S. Representative, after losing the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in Texas
Jock Scott, near the end of his tenure in the Louisiana House of Representatives
Carole Keeton Strayhorn, now State Comptroller of Texas(she ran for Texas Governor as an independent in 2006)
William Bennett, while U.S. Secretary of Education
*1986 - Richard Baker, before winning a U.S. House seat in
Charles T. Canady, while serving in the FloridaHouse of Representatives
Frank Rizzo, before running for Mayor of Philadelphia in 1987
James David Santini, before running for U.S. Senator from Nevada
Paul Hardy, before running for Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana
Roy Moore, prior to being appointed to an Alabamacircuit judgeship
Jim McCrery, while running for U.S. Representative from Louisiana. He had been a staff member for Buddy Roemer, but switched parties before the special election after Roemer was elected governor.
David Duke, prior for running for an unexpired term in the Louisiana state legislature
Edward Vrdolyak, before running for Mayor of Chicago
*1989 - Bill Grant, while U.S. Representative from
Tommy F. Robinson, while U.S. Representative from Arkansas
Rick Perry, before running for Agriculture Commissioner of Texas
W. Fox McKeithen, while Louisiana Secretary of State
*early 1990s -
Eli Bebout, while serving in the WyomingHouse of Representatives
Herman Badillo, before running for Mayor of New York City
*c. 1990 -
Tom Vandergriff, while running for county judge of Tarrant County, Texas(had served as mayor of Arlington, a nonpartisan position, and in Congress as a Democrat)
Vito Fossella, current U.S. Representative from New York
Lauch Faircloth, to run for the U.S. Senatein 1992
Bret Schundler, before running for the New Jersey Senate
Buddy Roemer, governor of Louisianaswitched parties shortly before the beginning of his unsuccessful reelection campaign
Byron Looper, before running for State Representative in Tennessee
Don W. Williamson, to oppose the Clinton administration
Walter B. Jones, while running for U.S. Representative from North Carolina
Ed Whitfield, the day before filing as a candidate for the U. S. House in Kentucky
Mike Bowers, while Attorney General of Georgia
Fob James, while running for Governor of Alabama
Richard Shelby, while U.S. Senator from Alabama
Woody Jenkins, while Louisiana state House member
Dan Richey, former Louisiana Democratic state legislator switched from independent to Republican when the Republicans won control of the U.S. Congress
*mid 1990s -
Ed Austin, while Mayor of Jacksonville
Jimmy Hayes, while U.S. Representative from Louisiana
Greg Laughlin, while U.S. Representative from Texas
Ben Nighthorse Campbell, while U.S. Senator from Colorado
Billy Tauzin, while U.S. Representative from Louisiana
Nathan Deal, while U.S. Representative from Georgia [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE7D6163DF932A25757C0A963958260]
Mike Parker, while U.S. Representative from Mississippi[http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B07E5D81439F932A25752C1A963958260]
Mike Foster, while running for Governor of Louisiana
Rusty Crowe, Tennessee state senator
Milton H. Hamilton, Jr, Tennessee state senator
Norm Coleman, while mayorof St. Paul, Minnesota
Kevin Mannix, after losing Democratic nomination for Oregon Attorney Generalin 1996
Michael J. Michot, while serving in the Louisiana House
George Wallace, Jr., before running for AlabamaPublic Service Commissioner
David G. Boschert
Sonny Perdue, while a Georgia State Senator
Nancy Larraine Hoffmann, while New York State Senator; defeated in 2006
Robert J. Barham, while serving in the Louisiana State Senate
Matthew G. Martinez, while U.S. Representative from California
Clinton LeSueur, before running for U.S. Representative from Mississippi
Michael Bloomberg, before running for mayorof New York City
Hunt Downer, before running for Governor of Louisiana
Amy Tuck, while Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi
Olga A. Méndez, while State Senator in New York
Don Cheeks, while a Georgia State Senator
Dan Lee, while a Georgia State Senator
Rooney Bowen, while a Georgia State Senator
Jack Hill, while a Georgia State Senator
Virgil Goode, congressman from Virginia, first became an Independent in 2000, then joined the Republican Party in 2002.
James David Cain, prior to his final election to the Louisiana Senate
Melinda Schwegmann, while State House member in Louisiana
Rick Sheehy, while mayor of Hastings, Nebraska
*2003 - Gabriel Vasquez, Houston City Councilmember (council seat is nonpartisan)
Ralph Hall, while U.S. Representative from Texas
Rodney Alexander, while U.S. Representative from Louisiana(his switch just before the filing deadline prevented the Democrats from fielding a viable replacement candidate) [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/08/07/congress.switch/index.html]
Steve Beren, before running for U.S. Representative from Washington
Michael Diven, while in Pennsylvania state House, defeated in 2006 elections
Sheri McInvale, Florida State Representative, defeated in 2006 elections
Don McLeary, Tennessee state senator, defeated in 2006
John Giannetti, Maryland State Senator, defeated in 2006
Mickey Channell, while a Georgia State Representative
Will Kendrick, Florida State Representative, after being reelected as a Democrat
Billy Montgomery, while serving in the Louisiana House
James Walley, Mississippi State Senator. Walley was originally elected as a Democrat after defeating Tommy Dickerson, who had switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. However, Walley was then defeated in the 2007 legislative elections by Tommy Dickerson, now running as a Democrat once more.
Tommy Gollott, current Mississippi State Senator from Biloxi
Dawn Pettengill, member of the Iowa House of Representatives
Mike Jacobs, while a Georgia State Representative
John N. Kennedy, while State Treasurer of Louisiana
*2007 - Robert Adley, while a member of the
Louisiana State Senate(re-elected for his current term as a Democrat)
Nolan Mettetal, member of the Mississippi State Senate[http://cottonmouthblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/nolan-mettetal-takes-final-step.html] Though he never formally changed his affiliation, former U.S. Senator Zell B. Miller (D-Georgia), endorsed George W. Bush and spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention.
Democrat to third party/independent or third party to Democrat
*1848 - The anti-
slavery"Barnburner" faction of the Democratic Party, along with members of the Liberty Party, splintered into creating the Free Soil Partyin 1848 including former Democratic President Martin Van Burenwho was the party's presidential nominee the same year. Most returned to the Democratic Party after it dissolved.
Hendrick Bradley Wright, congressman from Pennsylvania, ran for reelection on the Greenback Party and sought the party's presidential nomination in 1880.
Absolom M. West, joined the Greenback Party before being selected as a running mate on that party's presidential campaign in 1884
Thomas E. Watsonswitched to the Populist Party to run for Congress. He was also the party's vice presidential candidate in 1896 and presidential candidate in 1904 and 1908. He switched back to the Democratic Party and the Populist Party dissolved.
Henry A. Wallaceleft the Democratic Party after being fired as Secretary of Commerce by Harry S. Truman. He ran for President as the Progressive and American Labor Partycandidate in 1948. Later supported Dwight D. Eisenhowerand Richard M. Nixonfor President.
*1948 - The States' Rights Democratic Party splintered from the Democratic Party. Most of its members returned to the Democratic Party after the 1948 election.
*1964 - The
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Partywas founded.
Harry F. Byrd, Jr., conservative Democratic US senator from Virginia, became an independent and was reelected to the Senate against opponents from both parties.
1974- D. French Slaughter, Jr., while serving in the Virginia House of Delegates. Later elected to Congress as a Republican.
Wes Watkins, while running for governor of Oklahoma. He lost, but was elected as a Republican two years later to the House seat he held as a Democrat from 1977 to 1991.
Jerry Brown, former Governor of Californiaand 1976, 1980and 1992candidate for Democratic presidential nomination. Left Democratic Party and registered as Decline to State(unaffilated voter in California). Then he was elected to nonpartisan post of Mayor of Oakland, California. He reentered his old Party shortly thereafter and now is Attorney General of California
Virgil Goode, congressman from Virginiabecame an independent. He joined the Republican Party in 2002.
Matt Gonzalez, to the Green Party, during his campaign for the San FranciscoBoard of Supervisors
Audie Bock, after being elected to the California State Assemblyin 1999, as a Green ran as an Independent in 2000. After losing the November 2000 election Bock re-registered as a Democrat.
Tim Penny, a member of congress from Minnesota (1983–1995) to Independence Party of Minnesotato run for governor
Matt Ahearn, to the Green Party, while a New Jerseystate legislator [http://www.ballot-access.org/2003/0201.html#4]
Jim Lendall, Four term Arkansas state legislator, to Green Party, ran on Green ballot Line for Governor in 2006.
Joe Lieberman, to run as an independent (on the Connecticut for Liebermanticket) for US Senate in Connecticut, after losing to challenger Ned Lamontin the Democratic Primary. Lieberman won the election, and has said he intends to caucus with the Democrats, although in the 2008 presidential election, he endorsed the Republican nominee John McCainover the Democratic nominee Barack Obama.
Avel Gordly, while in Oregon Senate
William M. Paparian, former Mayor Pasadena, Californiato Green Party, to run for Congress California 29th
Barbara Becnel,to the Green Party following unsuccessful run for Democratic Party's nomination for Governor of California[http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/01/15/18347065.php]
Ben Westlund, after his aborted candidacy for Governor of Oregon. In December 2006, Westlund, a Republican turned Independent, became a Democrat. He is currently running for State Treasurer.
Eric Eidsness, switched from Republican to Reform Party to the Democratic Party, possibly to run for Congress in 2008 in Colorado's 4th congressional districtafter losing the election in 2006.
Cynthia McKinney, switched from Democrat to Green in October 2007 and is now the Green Party's presidential nominee. [http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Wikinews_interviews_U.S._Green_Party_presidential_candidate_Cynthia_McKinney] .
Chris Lugo, 2006 Green Party US Senate candidate switched to Democratic Party to run for the Democratic nomination for this year’s U.S. Senate race.
Mike Gravel, former US Senator and 2008 presidential candidate switched from Democrat to Libertarian [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/03/26/politics/main3969758.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_3969758] .
Republican to Democrat
*late 1860s -
Andrew Gregg Curtin, after leaving office as governor of Pennsylvania, elected to Congress as a Democrat.
Edmund G. Ross, after leaving office as U.S. Senator from Kansas
Henry A. Wallaceswitched to Democratic Party, but left after being fired as Secretary of Commerce by Harry S. Truman. He ran for President as the Progressive and American Labor Partycandidate in 1948. Later supported Dwight D. Eisenhowerand Richard M. Nixonfor President.
David Obey, now U.S. Representative from Wisconsin
Pete Stark, now U.S. Representative from California
Hillary Clinton, while in college
Howard Dean, while in college
Archibald Carey, Jr, after serving as a Chicago alderman and before being elected as a circuit court judge in Cook County, Illinois
Calhoun Allen, to run for the Shreveport, Louisiana, City Council
John Lindsay, while mayor of New York City
Leon Panetta, switched parties while not in or running for public office. He later became a U.S. representative from California(1976-93) and White House Chief of Staff(1994-1997)
Ogden R. Reid, while U.S. representative from New York
Joan Finney, before being elected Kansas State Treasurer
Don Riegle, while U.S. representative from Michigan
Peter Peyser, after three terms in the House as a New YorkRepublican, vacated his seat to run for nomination for the Senate in 1976. After his unsuccessful attempt, he switched to the Democratic party and regained his House seat in 1978.
John Yarmuth, now U.S. Representative from Kentucky
Mike Doyle, now U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania
*1991 - Markos Moulitsas, while in the Army
Loretta Sanchez, now U.S. Representative from California
*1994 - Bernard Erickson, Texas State Representative
Carolyn McCarthy, now U.S. Representative from New York, to challenge incumbent Dan Frisa(McCarthy was still a registered Republican at the time, but changed her registration to Democratic in 2002)
Betsy McCaughey Ross, during her term as Lieutenant Governor of New York, after falling out of favour with Governor George Pataki
*1997 - Debra J. Mazzarelli, New York State Assemblywoman
Russell W. Peterson, Governor of Delaware1969-1973
Michael Forbes, while U.S. representative from New York
*1999 - Robert R. Neall, Maryland State Senator
Dean Johnson, former GOP State Senate Minority Leader and future DFL State Senate Majority Leader, while State Senator from Minnesota
Judi Dutcher, while State Auditor from Minnesota
*2000 - Margaret Gamble, South Carolina State Representative
*2000 - Mickey Whatley, South Carolina State Representative
*2000 - Randy Sauder, Georgia State Representative
*2001 - Kathy Ashe, Georgia State Representative
D. G. Anderson, before filing for the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Hawaii
Charles R. Larson, before running for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland
Ray Nagin, days before filing for the mayoral race in New Orleans
*2002 - Douglas Stalnaker, member of West Virginia House of Delegates
*2003 - Michael Decker, North Carolina State Representative
Teresa Heinz Kerry, in protest of the campaign tactics used by Saxby Chamblissin the Georgia U.S. Senate race of 2002
Barbara Hafer, while State Treasurer of Pennsylvania
*2003 - Corey Corbin, New Hampshire State Representative
*2003 - Stan Moody, Maine State Representative
*2004 - Arthur Mayo, Maine State Senator
*2004 - Scott Dix, Georgia State Representative
*2005 - Andy Warren, former Bucks County, Pennsylvania Commissioner and well-known local politician; lost Congressional bid in 2006 to
Paul J. Morrison, attorney from Overland Park, Kansas, to run successfully for attorney generalin 2006; resigned in scandal after less than a year in office
*2005 - Robert McCabe, Sheriff of Norfolk, Virginia
*2005 - Steve Lukert, Kansas State Representative [http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t57489.html]
*2006 - James Webb, US Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, prior to running for U.S. Senate in Virginia
Mark Parkinson, former Kansas Republican Party Chairman, prior to running for Lieutenant Governorof Kansas
Charles Barkley, former NBAbasketballer, in anticipation of running for Governor of Alabamain 2014
Nancy Riley, GOP whip for the Oklahoma State Senate, as reported by the Daily Oklahoman. [http://www.newsok.com/article/2825137/]
Kate Witek, while serving as Auditorof Nebraska
MontanaState Senator Sam Kitzenbergswitched from Republican to Democrat with the reported motivation being to break a 25 to 25 tie (the new ratio will be 26 Democrats to 24 Republicans). [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061118/ap_on_re_us/montana_senate_switch]
Rodney Tom, switched parties while serving in the Washington State House of Representativesafter the 2006 legislative session ended, announced he would run as a Democrat for State Senate in his district, in November 2006 defeated Republican incumbent state Senator Luke Esser. [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2002864809_webpartyswitch14.html]
Diana Urban, Connecticut State Representative.
*2006 - Cindy Neighbor, Kansas State Representative; served as moderate Republican from 2002 to 2004 before losing renomination in 2004 to a more conservative Republican; sought rematch and won as a Democrat in 2006
Judy Leyerzapf, Abilene, KansasCity Council member [http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t57489.html]
*2006 - Barney Giese, County Prosecutor of Richland County, South Carolina
Pete McCloskey, former congressman from California
Walter Boasso, Louisiana state senator from Arabi to run for governor against Republican front-runner U.S. Representative Bobby Jindal.
Paul D. Froehlich, Illinois State Representative. According to the Chicago Tribune, Froehlich is cited as saying that the Republican Party "future prospects are not that good".
Mike Spano, New York State Assemblyman. His brother, Nicholas Spano, was defeated for re-election by Andrea Stewart-Cousinson November 7, 2006.
Janet DiFiore, Westchester CountyNY District Attorney
Chris Koster, Missouri State Senator, before running for Attorney General.
Milward Dedman, Kentucky State Representative
Melvin B. Henley, Kentucky State Representative
*2007 - Kirk England, Texas State Representative [http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2007/sep/28/state-representative-kirk-england-switches-democra/]
*2007 - James Hovland, while Mayor of
Francis Bodine, New Jersey State Representative
Debbie Stafford, Colorado State Representative [http://cbs4denver.com/local/aurora.colorado.rep.2.562605.html]
*2007 - Entire Town Council in
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
Fred Jarrett, Washington State Representative
Karen Awana, Hawaii State Representative
Mike Gabbard, Hawaii State Senator
*2008 - Rich White, Eau Claire County, WI, District Attorney
Republican to third party/independent
*1872 - Republicans in frustration with the Grant administration formed the Liberal Republican Party and joined the Democratic Party. Most returned to the Republican Party after the 1872 election.
James Weaver, left the Republican Party over disenchantment with Ulysses S. Grant, elected to Congress on the Greenback Party ticket and was the party's presidential nominee in 1880. Later switched to the Populist Party and ran for President on that party's ticket in 1892.
*1890s - Republicans who had agreed with the
Free Silvermovement of the 1890s formed the Silver Republican Party. After the party faded, members either switched to the Democratic Party or returned to the Republican Party.
Wharton Barkerswitched to the Populist Party.
Theodore Roosevelt, former President of the United States, left the Republican Party after a failed attempt to be nominated for President again. He ran as the candidate of the newly formed Progressive Party, better known as the Bull Moose Party, and received second place, doing better than the Republican candidate but being defeated by the Democratic candidate.
Robert M. La Follette, Jr., while U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, switched from the Republican Party to the Progressive Party.
George William Norris, progressive Republican U.S. senator from Nebraskaleft the Republican Party to become an independent and was reelected to the Senate once more, but was defeated in 1942 by a Republican in a race which also involved a Democrat.
*1937 or 1938 -
Vito Marcantonio, a liberal Republican congressman from New Yorkleft the party after being defeated for reelection, and joined the American Labor Party. He was then reelected to Congress.
Wayne Morse, while U.S. senator from Oregon. He then switched from independent to Democrat in 1956.
Roger MacBride, went from Republican to Libertarian and back to Republican
*1980 - John Anderson, Republican congressman from
Illinois, left the Republican presidential primary race for an independent centrist campaign in the 1980 presidential election.
Ron Paul, a former Republican congressman, ran for President as a Libertarian. He later returned to Congress as a Republican.
Arianna Huffington, wife of one-term U.S. Rep. Michael Huffington(R-California). She is now a frequent commentator with a large base of progressive and liberal fans. She even mounted an Independent bid for Governor of California in the 2003 recall election.
Walter Hickel, former Nixon Interior Secretary left Republican Party before his successful bid for Governorof Alaska, as nominee of the Alaskan Independence Party[http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE2DD123CF930A25752C1A966958260&sec=&spon=] . He rejoined the Republican party in 1994.
Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., before running for governor of Connecticut
Pat Buchanan, a conservative commentator who attempted to secure the 1996 Republican presidential nomination, left the Republican Party and gathered his supporters to take over the Reform Party, which made him their 2000 presidential nominee. [http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/10/25/poll.buchanan/index.html]
Donald Trump, real-estate billionaire left Republican Party and registered as a member of the Independence Party of New Yorkthe Reform Party's New York affiliate, in exploratory bid for the parties presidential nomination. later rejoined Republican Party. [http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19991025&slug=2991068]
Robert C. SmithUnited States Senator from New Hampshire, a well-known conservative, left the Republican Party while running for the Presidential nomination in 1999 and declared himself a candidate for the U.S. Taxpayer's Party presidential nomination, then an independent candidate. He finally returned to the GOP when a Senate committee chairmanship became open.
Rick Jore, three terms Republican Montana State Representative, to U.S. Constitution Party, became party's highest elected official when elected to the Montana House in 2006 and appointed chairman of the House Education Committee
*2001 - James M. Jeffords, while U.S. senator from
Vermont. This move changed the balance of power in the Senate from 50-50, with Republican Vice President Richard B. Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote and thus providing a "51" majority, to 50-49-1, giving the Democrats majority control of the Senate until the GOP regained control in 2003, following the 2002 midterm elections. Jeffords was given a committee chairmanship by the Democratic leadership and caucused with the Democrats until he chose not to run for re-election and left the Senate.
*2002 - Former Minnesota Governor
Arne Carlsonannounces he no longer considers himself a Republican due to the Republican Party of Minnesota's shift to the right on social issues. Carlson has not held elected office since 1999.
Carole Keeton Strayhorn, while Comptroller of Texas. Disenchanted with Gov. Rick Perry's leadership of the state. Strayhorn decided to run against him in the 2006 state elections as an independent. Strayhorn claims to be still a Republican at heart.
Ben Westlund, before his aborted candidacy for Governor of Oregon. In December 2006, Westlund took the switch a step further by becoming a Democrat [http://www.senatorwestlund.com/news_sendems-democrat-12-12-06.php] .
Bob Barr, former congressman from Georgia, joined the Libertarian Party [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/12/15/ap/politics/mainD8M1ILB00.shtml] .
Micheal R. Williams, while a Tennessee State Senator, became an independent [http://www.nashvillepost.com/news?id=26608] .
Michael Bloomberg, While Mayor of New York City, became an independent [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,284612,00.html] .
Lincoln Chafee, former U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, switched to unaffiliated [http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/02/14/664722.aspx] .
Michael Amo, Orange County New York legislator, switched to Independence Party of New York[http://www.ballot-access.org/2007/12/19/ny-independence-party-gains-a-county-legislator-in-orange-county/] .
*2007 - Richard W. Singleton, Member of
Rhode Island House of Representatives[http://www.beloblog.com/ProJo_Blogs/politics/2007/09/anger-over-bush.html]
*2008 - Jeff Wood,
Wisconsin State Assemblyman [http://www.ballot-access.org/2008/07/27/independent-wisconsin-legislator-faces-hostility-from-his-former-party/]
*2008 - Ron Erhardt, nine term Minnesota State Rep., running for 10th term as independent [http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/07/11/erhardt/] .
James Weaver, Republican turned Greenbacker, later helped founded the Populist Party and ran for President on that party's ticket in 1892.
Henrik Shipstead, while U.S. Senator from Minnesota, switched from the Farmer-Labor Party to the Republican Party.
Thomas M. Foglietta, while running for U.S. representative from Pennsylvaniaas an independent, having previously been a Republican councilman and mayoral candidate, switched to the Democratic party.
Jesse Ventura, while governor of Minnesota, left the Reform Party, along with most of his supporters, to create the separate Independence Party of Minnesota. [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/election2000/states/minnesota/ventura.html]
Elaine Brown, left Green Party became independent after withdrawing from Green Party presidential race [http://gpblackcaucus.blogspot.com/2007/12/elaine-brown-withdraws-from-green-party.html] .
Bill Scheurer, Two time candidate for the U.S. House, and Chair of the Illinois Moderate Party, switched to the Green Party [http://openmindsandopenhearts.blogspot.com/2008/03/bill-scheurer-goes-green.html] .
Iain Abernathy, Illinois Moderate Party 2008 Candidate for U.S. House, Switched to Green Party [http://www.mchenrycountyblog.com/labels/Iain%20Abernathy.html] .There have been several instances of politicians continuing to be a member of a political party while running other campaigns as an independent. The most prominent examples include southern Democratic segregationists Strom Thurmondin 1948 and George Wallacein 1968, who remained in the Democratic Party for statewide campaigns but mounted national presidential campaigns as independents.Wallace later ran in the 1972 Democratic primaries. Earlier, liberal Republican Robert La Follette, Sr.ran for President as the candidate of the Progressive Party in 1924, while still remaining a Republican in the Senate.
Other political figures, such as
Zell Millerand Ed Koch, did not formally leave their parties, but supported a candidate from another party. Miller and Koch, though well-known Democrats, supported Republican George W. Bush's 2004 reelection campaign. This received much media attention in 2004, when Democrats for Bushand Republicans for Kerrygroups were formed. In New Hampshire, former Republican governor Walter Petersonhas expressed supported Democrat John Lynchin his bids for governor. Similarly, in 1860, former Democratic President Martin Van Burenended up supporting Abraham Lincolndue to his disagreements with Democratic policies on secession. Other examples would include former Republican Senator from Minnesota David Durenbergersupporting John Kerry in 2004 and former Democratic Attorney General Griffin Bellsupporting George W. Bush in 2004.
Republican In Name Only, Democrat In Name Only
Red state-blue state divide
U.S. states, with map
crossing the floorfor the same concept in the Westminster system.
People United Means Action
* [http://edition.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/05/23/switchers.list - A list of party switchers (compiled in 2001)]
* [http://www.cookpolitical.com/column/1999/072099.php - An overview of party switching in recent years] .
* [http://archives.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/05/23/party.switchers/ - "Party switching comes with political risks"]
* [http://www.newsok.com/article/2825137/ Oklahoma State Senator Nancy Riley switches from Republican to Democrat]
* [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061118/ap_on_re_us/montana_senate_switch Montana State Senator switches from Republican to Democrat to break a 25 to 25 tie]
* [http://www.mikebloomberg.com Mayor Michael Bloomberg's official homepage]
* [http://polwatchers.typepad.com/pol_watchers/2007/09/speaker-confirm.html Speaker confirms Rep. Dedman's party switch]
* [http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2823/ Wave of Party Switchers Hits Republicans]
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