Rep. Joe Jett of Success today announced that he was switching to the Republican party. He is the third member of the Arkansas House of Representatives to do so after being elected by constituents as a Democrat in November, leaving the Dems with just 24 in the House.
This also appears to un-do the maneuvering by Democrats that gave them a majority on the Revenue and Taxation committee, an outcome that had given Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin conniption fits. The committee, which Jett chaired the last two years, is now split 10-10.
Jett hasn’t been returning my messages lately but he provided a statement to the D-G: “This is not a decision I made lightly. I have given this a considerable amount of time, thought and prayer. I was encouraged to move forward after meeting with constituents throughout District 56.”
Partisan affiliation always struck me as an unlovely topic for prayer. (Would that qualify under intercession? Supplication? Confession?) The Lord works in mysterious ways. Politics ain’t so mysterious, though. Politicians are thirsty for power and having a D by your name in Arkansas in 2016 doesn’t help.
The day after the election, Jett told another Arkansas Times reporter that the GOP was approaching him about flipping but there was absolutely no way that he would ever do it. A month later, he’s a Republican.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas released the following statement:
Today’s announcement that State Rep. Joe Jett changed his party affiliation came as no surprise. Rep. Jett disappeared from Democratic politics after 2014, and lacked the courage to change political parties before the November 2016 election. But, it doesn’t take an ounce of courage to abandon your party or sellout your values when you’re outnumbered. Every time Joe Jett has appeared on the ballot he has been unopposed. The Democratic Party of Arkansas will work hard to recruit a qualified candidate to ensure the voters of House District 56 have a choice in 2018.