W. Va. Sen. Evan Jenkins (West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information) West Virginia Sen. Evan Jenkins (West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information)

West Virginia state Sen. Evan Jenkins announced Wednesday that he is switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party and will challenge longtime Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) in 2014.

"West Virginia is under attack from Barack Obama and a Democratic Party that our parents and grandparents would not recognize," Jenkins said. "I am proud to join the Republican Party in fighting Washington's assault on our state, our freedoms, and our jobs."

Jenkins is the latest in a growing number of Democrats from Southern state legislatures to make the switch — with many of them coming in Louisiana and Mississippi, in particular.