Another party switch? Rep. Joe Jett cagey on rumors. | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Another party switch? Rep. Joe Jett cagey on rumors.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 10:25 AM

Indefatigable KARK reporter Drew Petrimoulx tracks down Rep. Joe Jett (D-Success) about rumors that he could be the third House Democrat to switch parties after the election despite winning election as a D. Jett's response ain't much of a denial.

The Dems are already down to just 25 out of 100 members in the House. There are plenty of perks to being in the majority, and obvious political advantages to having an R by your name in Arkansas. Rep. David Hillman of Almyra and Rep. Jeff Wardlaw of Hermitage abandoned the party and fled to the GOP last month despite the fact that their constituents elected them as Democrats.

Jett, a canny political operator, was Minority Whip in 2013-2014 and helped play a key role in backroom negotiations to advance the private option Medicaid expansion. Back then, he was rumored to be eyeing a future leadership role, including a run for Speaker if the Dems could retake the House (Dems only needed to flip two seats to regain the majority in the 2014 election— now laughable, they thought they had a fighting chance). He was also floated as a potential congressional candidate.

Despite the GOP taking control of the House, Jett chaired the Tax and Revenue committee in 2015-2016.

I've asked Jett for comment and will update if I get a reply.

The thing about politicians is they get thirsty. The only thing that can quench that deep thirst is power.

p.s. Jett told Times reporter Benji Hardy on the morning of Nov. 9, after the election, that he was being approached by the GOP about switching parties; Jett told Hardy unequivocally, in no uncertain terms, that he would not do so.

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