CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Democrat in the House of Delegates said Monday he’s switching to the Republican Party and plans to seek a state Senate seat.
“At this point, I just feel the Republican Party is best suited to take West Virginia forward,” Ryan Ferns told The Associated Press.
The switch means the House’s makeup is now 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. A year ago, before the 2012 election, there were 35 Republicans in the 100-seat House.
Ferns, 30, a two-term delegate from Ohio County, said next year he’ll seek the Senate seat currently held by Ohio County Democrat Rocky Fitzsimmons.
In June, Ferns said he had no plans to switch parties after voting for Republican Tim Armstead of Kanawha County in the race for House speaker won by Democrat Tim Miley.
Ferns said that vote was a statement of his displeasure with the way outside interests influenced the House speaker’s race.
Since then, “I’ve continued to try to work with the leadership within the House on a number of different issues and have had little success,” Ferns said.