Colorado GOP state senator switches parties, cites election conspiracy theories

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DENVER — Citing concern over the Republican Party’s widespread embrace of 2020 election plots, a moderate GOP Colorado senator has changed his affiliation to Democrat, improving that party’s chances of retaining its mid-term House majority. – course of November.

Kevin Priola, who represents Adams County in suburban Denver, said in a letter On Monday, he had been horrified by the Jan. 6 uprising on the U.S. Capitol and had waited in vain for his party to repudiate her and former President Donald Trump, who continues to insist on the theft.

“It never came,” Priola said. “To my dismay, brave and honorable Republicans like Mike Pence, Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney and Adam Kinzinger fought to defend the Constitution and the rule of law, but were ridiculed and threatened.

“I cannot continue to be part of a political party that agrees with a violent attempt to nullify a free and fair election and continues to peddle allegations that the 2020 election was stolen,” he said. said Priola.

Many claims that the presidential election was stolen have turned out to be false.

Pence, the former vice president, was reviled in the GOP for certifying the results of the 2020 presidential race within hours of the insurgency. Romney has been targeted by Trump-aligned Republicans hostile to the Utah senator, who have used his name to derisively refer to their rivals as “Mitt Romney’s Republicans.” Kinzinger, an Illinois congressman, has been one of Trump’s fiercest critics. Cheney, who leads the insurgency investigation as vice chair of the 1/6 Committee, lost her primary bid from Wyoming for re-election to Congress to a candidate endorsed by Trump last week.

Priola is in his second term as a state senator and is not eligible for re-election in November. But his change boosts the party’s chances of retaining control of the chamber midterm, with Democrats now holding a 21-14 majority. Seventeen of the chamber’s 35 seats are up for election this year.

Priola also cited what he called the GOP’s unwillingness to address climate change. “Today my fellow Republicans would rather deny the existence of human-caused climate change than act,” he wrote.

Priola has often voted with Democrats on laws meant to address climate change and other issues. He said he will caucus with Senate Democrats, but will pursue an independent streak that includes strong opposition to abortion.

Democratic Senate Speaker Steve Feinberg and Governor Jared Polis praised Priola’s decision. The state GOP’s reaction was swift, with party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown accusing Priola in a statement of “lying to her constituents” and saying, “Priola will regret this decision when he is outvoted in January 2023.”



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