Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

White the Latest Legislator to Switch Parties

White

KOSCIUSKO, Miss. (WCBI) — A North Mississippi legislator is switching parties, giving Republicans even more strength in the state House.

First-term Democrat Jason White is switching to the Republican Party. His defection after a year in the legislature gives Republicans 65 members in the House. The Kosciusko lawyer beat two other Democrats in last year’s primary to win the District 48 seat which covers all or part of Attala, Carroll, Choctaw, Holmes, Humphreys and Leake counties.

Even though he was elected as a Democrat, he sided this year with Republicans on a number of key issues.

A Republican-backed redistricting plan approved this year puts him in a district with a Democrat for the 20-15 elections.

FROM Y’ALL POLITICS

Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, Speaker Philip Gunn, and a host of other Republican elected and party officials will welcome a new member to the ever growing GOP in Mississippi Tuesday. It appears that Freshman State Representative Jason White of House District 48 is set to announce that he is switching parties, pushing the Republican majority up to 65 in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

House District 48 has long been primed to go red. If you will recall, the Democratic leadership under former Speaker Billy McCoy sought to eliminate HD 48 during redistricting back in 2011 because of the contempt he and his Democratic leadership team had for then-Rep. Mary Ann Stevens. Stevens’ ideology and voting record was consistently more closely aligned with Republicans even when they were in the minority and the liberal leadership didn’t appreciate it one bit.

As we now know the 2011 House Democratic incumbent protection plan didn’t see the light of day so the Democratic leadership went about recruiting challengers to run against Stevens. But instead of continuing to wrangle with the liberal leadership, Stevens decided to retire and ended her re-election efforts.

Jason White succeeded Stevens by winning election to the state House in 2012 with 55% of the vote and defeating two other Democrats in the primary. White did not face a general election opponent.

White serves on a number of House committees, including:

- Agriculture

- Apportionment and Elections

- Congressional Redistricting

- Constitution, Vice-Chair

- Judiciary B

- Judiciary En Banc

- Legislative Reapportionment

- Medicaid

- Transportation

- Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

During the 2012 session, White supported House Republican backed bills such as the Child Protection Act and the Attorney General Sunshine Act, among other items.

Under the new redistricting map approved by the Legislature this year and subsequently agreed to by the Department of Justice, Rep. Bennett Malone (D) will face off against White come 2015 should both seek re-election. However, rumor around the Capitol has it that if Malone could switch too he would; his relationships in the Democratic minority are strained but yet he doesn’t quite fit with the GOP either.

And if you want to see a likely response to come from the Mississippi Democratic Party and its Executive Director Rickey Cole on the heels of White’s announcement, you have only to look back to when Donnie Bell made the switch. Heck, when Bell switched they even rolled out a website labeling him as Mississippi’s Judas.