John Hoeven, Democrat
The North Decoder blog unearths some fascinating writing from current Gov. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), then the president of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota and a proud member of the … Democratic Party. From a letter he wrote to newspapers in 1996:
I have always been moderate in my political views, but now that I am considering elective office, I realize I must join a political party and stick to it. I have decided to join the Democratic-NPL Party because I believe that is the best fit for my views. [...]
What people don’t want is partisan politics as usual. The effort by overly partisan members of the Republican Party to cast me as one of their own is just that, partisan politics as usual.
Four years later, Hoeven was elected governor as a Republican; now, he’s the party’s candidate for an open Senate seat.
Hoeven wasn’t the only promising Midwestern politician to switch to a GOP that was, at the time, growing wildly in his state. The year that Hoeven wrote this letter, St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP.