OK Senator Leaves GOP

8-3-06- The state Senate gained a Democrat and lost a Republican today. Senator Nancy Riley says she's switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party because the GOP is being taken over by the
extreme right wing. She says she was completely ignored by the
Republican caucus during this year's legislative session and
believes her treatment is because of her moderate views and because
she's a woman.

The move increases the Democrat's majority in the Senate to 26-to-22 and Riley is in the middle of her four-year term so she doesn't face re-election this year. Democratic Senator Mike Morgan says Riley's move shows momentum is shifting back to the Democratic Party.

Republican Senate leader Glenn Coffee says he and Riley talked
about her frustrations but never about her switching parties.

Coffee also disagrees with Riley's statement that Republican leaders said they would rather be in the majority than be right.

Riley recent finished third in a three person race for the Republican nomination lieutenant governor but surprised many by getting 23 percent of the vote.