By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com October 22 2013 6:43 PM ET
A Texas judge says he’s leaving the Republican Party and becoming a Democrat, in part because of the Republicans’ antigay stances.
“I cannot tolerate a political party that demeans Texans based on their sexual orientation, the color of their skin, or their economic status,” said Carlo Key, a judge in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, in a campaign ad released Monday.
“For too long,” he added, “the Republican Party has been at war with itself. Rational Republican beliefs have given way to ideological character assassination. Pragmatism and principle have been overtaken by pettiness and bigotry.”
He also objected to the recent federal government shutdown and the Republican fight against health care reform. “I cannot place my name on the ballot of the political party that is proud to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of federal workers over the vain attempt to repeal a law that would provide health care for millions of people throughout our country,” he said.
Key also held a press conference Monday to announce his change of party. “Make no mistake, I did not leave the Republican Party, it left me,” Key said, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “My principles have led me to the Democratic Party, and my only hope is that more people of principle will follow me.” He was joined at the press conference by several prominent Texas Democrats, including Congressman Joaquin Castro.
Key has been a Bexar County Court-at-Law judge since 2010 and was an attorney before that. He will run for reelection as a Democrat next year. There had been speculation about him switching parties after he attended a recent fund-raiser for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis, currently a state senator who gained a higher profile this year with her filibuster for abortion rights.