Alexander Switches Parties

Posted August 6, 2004 at 6:40pm

In a last-minute reversal, freshman Rep. Rodney Alexander (D-La.) filed to run for re-election as a Republican late Friday — a move that elated Republican leaders and stunned fellow Democrats in Washington.

Alexander, who had resisted earlier GOP overtures to switch parties, initially filed as a Democrat on Wednesday. He then refiled as a Republican on Friday, the last day for candidates to qualify in the state.

“I just decided it would be best for me to switch parties, that I would be more effective in the 5th District in the state of Louisiana as a Republican,” Alexander told The Associated Press.

Details about when Alexander’s affiliation switch would be official were not immediately available Friday night.

Republicans currently hold a 228 to 207 majority in the House after losing two seats in special elections held earlier this year.

“I am excited to welcome Rodney Alexander to the Republican Party and endorse him for Congress in the Fifth District,” Rep. David Vitter (R-La.) said in a statement.

While Alexander’s district favors Republicans, the GOP failed to secure a top-tier candidate, leaving Alexander a shoo-in as a Democrat.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Kori Bernards said Alexander betrayed voters and the state’s two Democratic Senators, John Breaux and Mary Landrieu.

“We have no use for turncoats like Rodney Alexander in the new Democratic majority,” she said.