By Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel
RIPLEY – Two prominent local officials announced their plans to switch to the Republican Party during a Thursday luncheon.
Long time Dist. 4 Tippah Supervisor Dennis Grisham, a Democrat, and new Ripley Mayor Chris Marsalis, who ran for that office during a non-partisan special election earlier this year, made their announcements at Country Inn Too following remarks from U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker.
Grisham, who is serving his eighth consecutive term as supervisor, said “I decided to change parties when the Democratic Party stopped recognizing God.” I’m proud to be associated with people who recognize the Lord.” He said after the meeting, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”
Marsalis, whose first foray into politics was his run for mayor, said “I’m going to run as a Republican when the time comes. That will be beginning when I qualify to run next January.” He reminded his listeners that regardless of party affiliation, “I’m everybody’s mayor, and I’ll do all I can to help you.”
Sen. Wicker told the gathering. “I’m here as an American waving the flag, not as a partisan.” He thanked the audience for the county’s staunch Republican support in recent years, as evidenced by the 75 percent vote for Phil Bryant during Bryant’s campaign for governor last year, and for John McCain’s 72 percent county vote during his run for the presidency.
Sen. Wicker also thanked the crowd for helping him achieve a 67.2 percent county vote during the 2008 elections.
Referring to the turnout for McCain, he said, “I suspect the Republican turnout will be even better in five days.”