He lost 56 percent to 44 percent.
Allen Loughry switched from Independent to Republican in 2011 before his run for the state Supreme Court. Loughry won election to the court in 2012.
Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper started as a Republican, but switched to the Democratic Party in a bitter dispute with Republican Gov. Cecil Underwood over the Charleston Airport.
Since the switch in 1999, he has won re-election every time.
Wyoming County's Daniel Hall lost a House of Delegates race as a Republican in 2006. He turned Democrat and won elections to the House and the state Senate.
Richie Robb served as mayor of South Charleston as a Republican from 1975 until 2007. He even served a term as party chairman.
During the George W. Bush presidency, Robb switched to the Democratic Party because of his opposition to the war in Iraq.
He ran unsuccessfully for his party's nomination for the 2nd District congressional seat in 2008.
Party switches have varying impacts. When done early in life, especially before entering politics, they are less significant.
However, party changes during an election cycle can become a distracting issue.
Jenkins' jump coincides with the start of a congressional campaign, meaning it will be more of a focus for his opponents.
How Jenkins handles the issue will go a long way in determining whether he is viewed by the electorate as a committed conservative who saw the light or a political opportunist.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.