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Party switch gives GOP control of W.Va. Senate, too

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Republicans will control both chambers of the Statehouse for the first time in more than eight decades following Wyoming County Sen. Daniel Hall’s switch from Democrat to Republican Wednesday afternoon — a day after the midterm election. Hall switched parties late in the day, West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas confirmed Wednesday evening.

“The message of Republican victory resonates very strongly across West Virginia,” Lucas said. “We’re excited to have another member of our team to make a difference going forward.”

This isn’t the first time Hall has changed his party affiliation.

Hall ran and lost as a Republican for the House of Delegates in 2006. In 2008, he ran again for the House, that time as a Democrat, and won.

Hall was first elected to the Senate — keeping his Democratic Party affiliation — in 2012. He did not return calls for comment on Wednesday evening.

Hall’s move on Wednesday created an 18-16 Republican majority in the state Senate.

Tuesday’s election created a split Senate, with 17 Republicans and 17 Democrats elected. State senators had been trying to figure out how to determine who would be Senate president.

Before Hall’s switch became public, current Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall, R-Putnam, suggested the easiest way to resolve the matter would be for one or more senators to cross party lines to elect a president.

As for which party might be first to waver, Mike Hall commented, “You look at the composition of the Senate, our caucus and the Democratic caucus, and ask a question, ‘Are they unified?’ Our caucus is unified.”

Reached Wednesday evening, Mike Hall said he would prefer other positions over the Senate president title.

“Quite frankly, at this point that is not the number one thing I would choose to do…

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