Former House Democrat and current House Democratic Leader spar over switching parties
MDN Menu
MDN.ORG Mo. Digital News Missouri Digital News MDN.ORG: Mo. Digital News MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News

Former House Democrat and current House Democratic Leader spar over switching parties

Date: November 5, 2014
By: Steven Anthony
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - On Election Night, Rep. Linda Black of St. Francois County coasted to a reelection victory with no challenger facing her.

The next day, she announced she is switching her political allegiance to the Republican Party.

House Democratic Leader Jacob Hummel said the way Black switched parties was not right.

"I am very disappointed," Hummel said. "Clearly she [intended to switch parties] all along and she was not honest with her constituents. If she was going to switch parties, she should've done it before the election."

Black defended her decision to switch parties and indirectly called out Hummel in the process.

"They elected leadership that was liberal," Black said. "All of our membership from the urban areas was very liberal. I felt like I wasn't in the presence of like-minded people."

Black said one reason she switched parties is because of the Defense of Marriage Act case that was decided at the Supreme Court in 2013.

"Since the federal Supreme Court ruling and then Missouri looking like we're not going to defend our constitution was probably the tipping point that made me decide I no longer can identify with the Democrat Party," Black said.

Black said earlier Wednesday one of the reasons she switched parties is because she believes in the traditional definition of marriage.

Wednesday afternoon, a judge in St. Louis City struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage.

Black disagreed with the judge's ruling.

"That ruling shows a disregard for the general consensus of the citizens of the state," Black said. "71 percent of the people are not wrong."

With Black's switch to the Republican Party, the House GOP now has 118 members, the most either party has had since 1965.

Hummel said the situation Black put Democrats in makes him upset and upset for her voters who reelected her as a Democrat.

"[Black] went to the polls knowing that she was lying to her voters and did it with a straight face and I think that's disgusting," Hummel said.

Missouri Digital News is produced by Missouri Digital News, Inc. -- a non profit organization of current and former journalists.