BECKLEY, W.Va. – Delegate Mick Bates of Raleigh County announced Wednesday that he had swapped his political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
“After much prayer and deliberation during and following the 2021 legislative session, I have made the decision to ensure I best represent the interests of the people of the 30th District, Beckley and Raleigh County and that I do so as a member of the Majority Party,” said Bates in a letter released Wednesday. “This morning, I officially changed my voter registration status from Democrat to Republican and will join the Republican Caucus in the West Virginia House of Delegates.”
Bates said he was far from the first person to make such a change and would not be the last to do so.
“Over the past 3 years there has been a 30% swing in registrations in Raleigh County from Democrat to Republican. The line often used, and attributed to President Ronald Reagan, is that ‘I didn’t leave the party, the party left me,’ “ said Bates.
“There used to be a difference between the way West Virginia Democrats and Washington Democrats were viewed. People no longer see that difference. At a national level, the controlling interests and leadership of the Democratic party continue to pursue positions that alienate and anger voters in rural parts of the country and don’t reflect the priorities, values or beliefs of the people in West Virginia. This is not changing and appears to be getting worse, not better,” Bates continued.
While Bates said he expected the decision to disappoint or upset some, he felt that a greater number of individuals would welcome the change and see it as the right thing to do for the people he represents.
“I have always done my best for people, regardless of party affiliation. That hasn’t and will not change. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for the remainder of my term to build a better, stronger and healthier Beckley, Raleigh County and Southern West Virginia. There is a lot more work to do,” said Bates.