State Rep. Aaron Pena has confirmed that he will now join the ranks of the Republican Party.

Pena made his announcement  at the Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin on Tuesday afternoon. At a news conference with Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, Peña's announcement coincided with a similar decision by state Rep. Allan Ritter, a Democrat from Nederland who confirmed he was also joining the GOP.

The Edinburg Review is pursuing comment from Pena.

“My decision to switch parties just sort of evolved,” Pena said in online publication, the Rio Grande Guardian, which was the only Valley media outlet covering the press conference from Austin. “I did that story about the future of the Democratic Party in the Guardian and then just started to think about things. Then, last Friday, I thought, I am going to put out a statement saying I am thinking about it.”

“I have no doubt that as a result of what has happened here, there will be changes (in the Texas Democratic Party). After ten years of trying to make this point, my critics have lost the argument," Pena said in the Guardian. "The evidence is clear and the outcomes can be measured. I would encourage people to run, without waiting for a phone call from Dallas or Austin or Washington. ”