"I have the greatest respect for the many friends and supporters I have been blessed with during my time in public office," Jeffries said in a statement. "I hope to continue and strengthen those relationships going forward.
"Our politics have gotten so personal and difficult," he continued. "I want to make sure that I serve constituents and our state in a respectful, thoughtful way that leads to a better life for all West Virginians."
Jeffries, however, did not clarify why he chose to switch his party allegiance now, less than one month after an election. A statement from the West Virginia Democratic Party, however, attributed Jeffries' departure to "discomfort with Democratic Party values."
Jeffries is serving his second term after winning reelection in 2020.
Currently, Republicans hold a 23-11 majority in the West Virginia state Senate. That majority grew another seven seats in the 2022 elections. With Jeffries, Republicans will hold all but three state Senate seats once the new legislative session begins next month. In total, there will be only 15 Democrats in the entire West Virginia legislature, as there are only 12 Democrats elected to the state House.
What was the reaction?
West Virginia state Senate President Craig Blair (R) welcomed Jeffries with open arms.
"With Sen. Jeffries as a member of our caucus, we stand at 31 members strong," Blair said. "Glenn has been a leader in the minority caucus with his work in economic development and infrastructure. As a successful small business owner, he knows what meeting a payroll, hard work, responsibility and teamwork mean. I know he has been — and will continue to be — an incredibly valuable member of the West Virginia Senate."
West Virginia Democratic Party chairman Mike Pushkin, however, used the opportunity to invoke former President Donald Trump
"For Sen. Jeffries to claim he doesn’t like the direction of the Democratic Party, barely a week after his new party’s de facto leader had dinner with a Holocaust-denying white supremacist, is like being called ugly by a frog," Pushkin said.