Rehwinkel-Vasilinda's Political 180 Complete, She's Now GOP

Feb 24, 2017

Former Tallahassee Representative Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda has joined the Republican Party of Florida.

Former Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda has switched from Democrat to Republican. Elected as a Democrat in the heavily Democratic District 9, she angered her former colleagues when she supported guns on campus and appeared with Donald Trump at a Tallahassee rally.

Rehwinkel-Vasilinda officially made the transition Thursday evening during the Leon County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner.

Rehwinkel-Vasilinda represented Leon County's House District 9 for eight years, until she was termed out of the Legislature last year.

During that time, she frequently broke with her former party to support controversial measures like guns on campus and offshore oil drilling.

But she had a liberal streak as well, sponsoring measures to repeal the death penalty and label genetically modified food. She waged a perennial campaign against monopoly utility companies and their ability to charge customers in advance for nuclear power plant construction, whether the plants are built or not. The process is known as nuclear cost recovery.

Shortly after leaving the Legislature last year, Rehwinkel-Vasilinda came out in support of Donald Trump, even introducing the Republican presidential nominee at a Tallahassee rally. Many of her Democratic supporters said they felt betrayed.  Rehwinkel-Vasilinda said at the time that she's "never been a good partisan."

Thursday she appeared at the Leon County's GOP's Lincoln dinner and made her full transition from Democrat to Independent to Republican, official.