March 27, 2013 10:04:33 AM
JACKSON -- State Sen. Nicky Browning of Pontotoc has switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP, saying the time was right for him to make the move and become a Republican.
The state Senate now has 32 Republicans and 20 Democrats. With fewer than 40 percent of the chamber's members for the first time since Reconstruction, Democrats would not be able to block certain bills that require a three-fifths majority on a party-line vote.
Browning, chairman of the Senate County Affairs Committee, has served in the Legislature as a Democrat since 1996. Browning said Tuesday that he and his family decided he should switch. He said Republicans have been making overtures for some time.
"They've been after me to switch for the last 10 years, or maybe longer," Browning said. "It's been something that's been on my mind, but all of my local officials in my area were actually Democrats until the last election."
Browning represents Senate District 3, which now includes parts of Pontotoc, Union and Calhoun counties. When new Senate districts were drawn last year, Browning and Sen. Bill Stone, D-Ashland, were put together in a district that includes Benton and Union counties including part of Pontotoc.
"I hope to remain Bill Stone's friend," said Browning, who said he plans to seek re-election in 2015 in the new district.