Lincoln County will see a tremendous political shift today with a new sweep of county office holders announcing their switch to the Republican Party.

Sheriff Steve Rushing, Justice Court Judge Joe Portrey, Constable Kelly Porter, Coroner Clay McMorris, and Election Commissioner Marsha Warren will be welcomed to the Republican Party by Congressman Greg Harper, Governor Phil Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith, Representative Becky Currie and I at a ceremony at Republican headquarters in downtown Brookhaven this afternoon.

John Roberts, County Republican Executive Committee Chairman, deserves congratulations for his continued work to bring these officials into the Republican fold. As an Archie Manning fan, Roberts counts #18 as his favorite number, and even more so now that he can boast of 18 Republican elected officials from Lincoln County.

Roberts, as well as current Republicans Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop, Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield, District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown, Justice Court Judge Chris King, and Election Commissioners Stan Long and John Guist paved the way for today’s announcement.

The county seat of Brookhaven remained strong as well in the recent municipal elections, electing Republican Mayor, Joe Cox; and returning Republicans Michael Jinks as City Clerk, Shirley Estes and Karen Sullivan to the Board of Aldermen, and placing Republican newcomer Fletcher Guice on the Board as well.

These Republican gains are celebrated as we mourn the recent loss of two former Lincoln County Republican Legislators. The spirited life of former Representative Dr. Jim Barnett was celebrated with a rousing cheer of Hotty Toddy at his funeral service last Tuesday. Dr. Jim, as he was known, served in the Mississippi house from 1992 to 2008 and was instrumental in bringing the Mississippi School of the Arts to Brookhaven. Former Representative Steve Melancon, with an impressive resume as a highly decorated, retired U. S. Army General and dedicated community volunteer, served one term in the House and will be buried in Brookhaven today.

In my 2011 election, only 3,400 voters cast their vote in the Republican primary out of the 12,500 who voted in the general election. I look forward to those numbers changing in 2015.