Senator Announces Switch From Republican to Democrat Citing Recent Party Actions as the Reason

Rep. Laura Bradford adjusts suit jacket of Rep. Kevin Priola

Kevin Priola announced in a letter that he is leaving the Republican party.

Colorado Republican senator wrote a letter informing voters he will be changing his party registration to Democrat. 

Kevin Priola announced Monday, via a letter posted on his personal Twitter, that he will be switching political parties from a Republican to a Democrat. 

This change comes after serving four terms as a Republican in the Colorado House and two terms in the Senate. Priola says this switch was initiated by the Jan. 6 attack and the following actions, or lack of action, by his former party members. 

“I cannot continue to be a part of a political party that is okay with a violent attempt to overturn a free and fair election and continues to peddle claims that the 2020 election was stolen,” wrote Priola.

He also stated that the Republican party's opinion towards climate change is another reason why he felt the need to switch. 

“The Republican party I joined decades ago created national parks, preserved federal lands, and protected wildlife,” said Priola. “Today my Republican colleagues would rather deny the existence of human-created climate change than take action.” 

Though he said he stands strong behind his political affiliation change, he stressed that his stance on issues such as abortion, school choice, and gun laws remain the same. 

“To be clear, I will not be changing the way I vote on legislation. I just will now cast my votes with a D next to my name instead of an R,” says Priola.

Priola recognized his stance differs from the usual Democrats but feels “there is too much at stake right now for Republicans to be in charge.”

Former Democratic member of Congress and current governor of Colorado Jared Polis welcomes the change, saying “Proud to welcome @KevinPriola to the Democratic Party. We are a broad tent party, always seeking good ideas from the left and right to move CO forward. Senator Priola is a strong leader on climate issues & will hopefully be even more effective on the Democratic side of the aisle,” in a recent tweet.

A Colorado House Democrat also welcomed Priola into the party. Colorado Senate President Steve Fenberg wrote, “Though we don’t see eye to eye on every issue, the Senate Democrats are excited to embrace Senator Priola’s leadership and diversity of thought into our caucus.”

When it comes to those issues Senator Fenberg says, “just as Senator Priola’s views haven’t changed, our caucus’s principles haven’t either. Senate Democrats, with the leadership of Senator Gonzales’s Reproductive Health Equity Act, secured and protected a woman’s right to reproductive health care this year. We will continue to fight to ensure that a woman’s right to choose is uninhibited in Colorado.”

With Priola’s party switch, Democrats now hold a 21-14 majority over Republicans in the Colorado Senate, making it even more difficult for the GOP to regain control of the state's Capitol in the upcoming election, according to HuffPost.

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