Rick Perry had a six-year run in the state House, he switched to the GOP to run against populist Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower in late 1989.
When you referenced the switching from democrat to republican, it reminded me of the area in Texas where I live. This region has a congressman (Ralph Hall) who was a life-long democrat until very recently. The staunch conservatives around this area always made a habit of voting for Mr. Hall, even though he was a democrat (myself included.) We voted republican for every office, but always supported Ralph. His voting record was always that of a conservative.