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This is a developing story and may be updated.
Story updated at 12:14 p.m.
Sen. Glenn Jeffries, formerly D-Putnam, has announced that he has filed to switch his party affiliation. Jeffries, now R-Putnam, will join the Republican caucus in the state Senate.
The switch now has Republicans occupying 31 of the 34 Senate seats.
Jeffries said he thinks he can get more accomplished as a republican.
“I believe with some of the momentum that I’ve got going with economic development, stuff that I’ve been involved with, I believe that making this move will help me be more effective,” Jeffries said. “The majority party ends up making decisions that I want to be involved with, and want to make sure that they’re going in the right direction.”
In 2021, Jeffries wrote a letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BH) Chairman Warren Buffett inviting him to visit West Virginia. During the past year, Jeffries has hosted BH executives in West Virginia dozens of times. His persistence helped lead the company to bring two BH subsidiaries, Precision Castparts Corporation (PCC) and BHE Renewables, into Jackson County, where they will build a state-of-the art titanium melt facility that manufactures products for the aerospace and other industries on the site of the old Century Aluminum Plant.
Jeffries said that when he first ran for election in 2016, he pledged to work in a bipartisan way to find solutions for the biggest problems in West Virginia. He said he plans to continue those efforts.
“I am not a politician. If a Republican constituent or a Democrat constituent calls me, if an independent or mountain party person calls me, I’m there for them,” Jeffries said. “You can probably ask any of them that spoke with, I never asked what party they’re affiliated with, I’m there to help.”
In a press release, Tony Hodge, chairman of the Putnam County Republican Party and co-chair of the West Virginia Republican Party said he recently met with Jeffries to discuss his party switch.
“Glenn described himself to me as a ‘conservative,’” Hodge said. “We agreed his policy efforts in the state Senate would be elevated if he joined the majority Republican caucus.”
The only Putnam County seat that was not held by a Republican was the 8th Senatorial District seat occupied by Jeffries, who is not up for re-election until 2024.