- Colorado state Sen. Kevin Priola announced that he's left the Republican Party.
- Priola said Trump's bid to overturn elections and the "too tribal" political climate forced him out.
- Priola said he still plans to support conservative causes like school choice and gun rights.
Colorado state Sen. Kevin Priola announced that he's switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to sever all ties with GOP leaders who continue to support Donald Trump's baseless election fraud claims.
—Kevin Priola 🇺🇸 XLVIII (@KevinPriola) August 22, 2022
"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," Priola wrote in the open letter he posted online Monday. He added that he watched the deadly siege at the US Capitol "with horror," and kept expecting fellow Republicans to come to their senses about what the embattled former president was doing to the country.
"To my dismay, brave and honorable Republicans like Mike Pence, Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, and Adam Kinzinger have fought to defend the constitution and the rule of law only to be met with ridicule and threats," Priola wrote, citing some of the GOP lawmakers who've publicly broken with the twice-impeached former president since he's left office.
Priola, who isn't up for reelection until 2024, notes that while he plans to caucus with Democrats for the remainder of his term, "I will not be changing the way I vote on legislation." He lists his anti-abortion stance, and his conservative positions on school choice, and gun rights as issues he's unwilling to waver on just because he's switched sides.
So why change?
"Coloradans cannot afford for their leaders to give credence to election conspiracies and climate denialism," Priola wrote. "We need Democrats in charge because our planet and our democracy depend on it."
—Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@harrisonjaime) August 22, 2022
"Welcome to the party!!!" Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted in response.
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