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Republican Switches Parties Over Mississippi Refusal To Expand Medicaid

Former state senator Tim Johnson on Wednesday announced he's switching parties and challenging incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves this year.

I always expected some Republicans to switch parties, because it's an enormous psychological stress to constantly paint bad things as good, and to tear things down instead of building them up. I'm glad that it happened in Mississippi, because the poor people there could really use a champion:

Former Republican state Sen. Tim Johnson on Wednesday announced he's switching parties and challenging incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves this year.

But the noted Elvis impersonator said he won't be appearing as the King on the campaign trail.

"Why join the Democratic Party and run for lieutenant governor?" Johnson said before a cheering throng of supporters at a Capitol press conference. "I'll tell you: We are all Mississippians first. Elected officials should be in the business of helping all Mississippians, not picking out who to hurt."

"The Republican Party leaders' actions against supporting Medicaid expansion and threatening our local hospitals was the final, deciding factor for me."

Johnson, 55, is a former two-term state senator, two term Madison supervisor and former Madison alderman. He's an insurance agent and Realtor. And as an Elvis impersonator he has performed across the state and nation. Johnson in 2011 ran unsuccessfully for Central District Transportation Commissioner.

"We see these current (Republican) leaders make excuses for underfunding our schools," Johnson said. "We see them refuse to repair and maintain our crumbling roads and bridged and we stood by while they ignore a $12,000 pay gap between working women and men. We've also watched shocking corruption on their watch."

State Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef said: "I guess this begs the question of whether he's really been a Republican all these years, or just a Republican impersonator. As a proven vote getter, I expect Lt. Gov. Reeves to win a landslide re-election no matter how many current or future Democrats run against him."

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