The state Republican Party just sent this out, welcoming its newest convert -- Rep. Jeff Smith of Lowndes County, a candidate for speaker who as a Democrat has often been closely aligned with the House GOP.
Here's the party's statement"
JACKSON – The Mississippi Republican Party welcomes Representative Jeff Smith as the newest member of our party’s caucus in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Smith, who has served Lowndes County in the House since 1992, joined the Republican Party on June 1 when he qualified for re-election in the Republican primary for House District 39. Smith will be joined in the primary by Jack Larmour. The Republican nominee will not face a general election in November.
“I am very pleased to be a Republican,” Rep. Smith said. “With my conservative voting record and good relationship with the Republicans in the Mississippi Legislature and in my District, I feel at home in the Republican Party. As a military veteran and Patriot, I feel I will be comfortable with the Republican Party, and its conservative philosophy, along with the protection of individual rights and the work ethic.”
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Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Arnie Hederman added, “Representative Smith’s decision to join the Republican Party means we have reached a new high-water mark in the Mississippi House. Our party’s position in the House is the strongest it has been in over one hundred years. We look forward to a spirited and respectful Republican primary in District 39 this summer, and we are confident that Lowndes County Republicans will choose the best representative for the next four years.”