State Representative Roy Schmidt took his seat Wednesday on the Republican side of the state House chamber for the first time since he stunned Democrats by switching parties without warning.
This is the first time since the 1990s that a sitting lawmaker has switched parties. And Democrats say the whole thing seems designed to swing a competitive seat with a strong incumbent to the Republican column.
Schmidt – who has had some harsh things to say in the past about the Republican direction in Lansing – says the crossover is simply a reflection of his moderate politics.
“The only thing that was promised to me was that I’d have a seat at the table,” he says.
Republicans in the Legislature re-drew Schmidt’s Grand Rapids-area House seat to be more friendly to a GOP candidate. A little-known candidate who is a friend of Schmidt’s nephew did file as a Democrat just before Tuesday’s filing deadline. Schmidt says he had nothing to do with that.