Four Democratic representatives switch parties - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Four Democratic representatives switch parties

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Four House Democrats say they followed their hearts and crossed the aisle to join the Republican majority including Representative Steve Hurst of Munford and Representative Mike Millican of Hamilton.

The representatives say it wasn't about power or promises. Rather, it was about joining the party they'd voted with for years.

Pro-life, Second Amendment and small government supporter, Millican, was questioned about his party loyalty.

"When are you going to make the change? You vote with us. You began voting for us 15 years ago. When are you going to put the "R" by your name?," he said of the questions from Republican lawmakers and his constituents.

Monday, Millican along with Democratic Representatives Hurst, Lesley Vance of Phenix City and Alan Boothe of Troy decided to put the "R" by their names.

"After the election was over, I said, 'the best thing I can do is hold true to my values.' And my values are the ones I see here today," said Hurst.

Republican Party Chairman Mike Hubbard believes each one would have won in November as a Republican. He says Republicans becoming the majority party was just the needed push.

"We haven't promised any chairmanships. We haven't promised any appointments. Nothing has been promised to anyone," said Hubbard.

Democratic Representative John Rogers of Birmingham anticipated the announcement and believes the loss of four votes won't hurt his already outvoted party.

Like Hubbard, he believes the representatives would have claimed victories as Republicans, which is a reason to change the Democratic message.

"We will revamp the part from top to bottom and change our mission. Whatever they want, we'll give it to them more," said Rogers.

Rogers says what that message is depends on the majority of Alabama voters who are Democrats want.