Texas State Representative Aaron Peña has announced his intention to switch sides: from Democrat to Republican.
Peña said Tuesday that he will be joining the party's caucus and will stand as a Republican candidate in Hidalgo County in the next election. Hidalgo County has a large Latino constituency and historically has favored Democrats.
Peña explained his decision by saying that his conservative political inclinations made it difficult for him to remain in the Democratic Party.
With Peñas defection, and that of another Democratic legislator, Allan Ritter, also announced on Tuesday, the Republicans will hold a 101-49 edge in the Texas House of Representatives in the next session.
Peña, who sat on the House redistricting committee, had previously and memorably noted that Republicans are squarely in control the Texas State Legislature: "We have a two-party system in Texas — and that is between conservative Republicans and the moderate Republicans," Pena said to AP. "The Democratic Party, or what remains of it, is on life support in Texas."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.