Middle Georgia lawmaker James “Bubber” Epps Monday became the latest Democrat to jump ship to the state Republican Party. He is the eighth to do so since the general election.
Epps last month won a second term as a Democrat to represent parts of four middle Georgia counties. He told the Telegraph newspaper he can best serve his constituents in rural Georgia as a Republican.
The Epps jump follows several others across the state, including Athens lawmaker Doug McKillip. He said his change was to have a “seat at the leadership table” since Republicans are in control of the state House and Senate.
Kennesaw State political scientist Kerwin Swint says these moves aren’t philosophical or ideological. And history typically doesn’t shine well on party switchers:
“But in this particular case, it may be that the voters that elected them, the constituents they represent—understand and are maybe in a closer position to give them a pass then what you normally see around the country.”
Republicans now hold 113 seats in Georgia’s 180-member House. That’s only seven seats shy of a supermajority in the chamber. Democrats control 64 seats, there is one independent and two seats are open.