Joining the parade of House Democrats who joined the Republican Party since the Nov. 2 election, Sen. Tim Golden of Valdosta announced Monday he will join the GOP caucus.
Golden, recently elected to an 11th term in the General Assembly, becomes the first Democrat to switch parties in the Senate. Five House members have left the Democratic caucus for the GOP.
“I am changing my party affiliation in order to better represent the views of the majority of my constituents and my own conservative, pro-business philosophy,” Golden said in a statement. “Our state continues to face great challenges. As a member of the majority caucus, I will be able to more effectively represent the people of the 8th District on important issues including the annual state budget, tax reform, reapportionment and helping our businesses put more Georgians back to work.”
Republican leadership said they welcome Golden to their side.
“He has been a real leader on issues that help create jobs and support Georgia business,” Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, said in a statement. “We have long felt his ideology is a good fit for the Republican Party.”
Golden’s move gives the Republicans 36 seats in the Senate to 20 for the Democrats, leaving the GOP two votes shy of a two-thirds “super majority.”
Golden’s move means every member of the Lowndes County delegation is now Republican.