Clerk Kim Davis Switching Parties to Become a Republican

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Switching to the Republican Party.

LOUISVILLE, Ky – Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, a longtime Democrat, says she is switching to the Republican Party because she feels abandoned by Democrats in her crusade against same-sex marriage.Without much fanfare, a modestly dressed and unceremoniously coiffed woman emerged from behind closed doors, where TV cameramen had stood for much of an hour Friday afternoon waiting to get their shot. Davis made the announcement while in Washington, D.C., to attend the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit, said Charla Bansley, a spokeswoman for Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis in her legal battles. Slowly, but surely, the attendees of the Values Voter Summit here in Washington recognized her: Kim Davis, the conservative everywoman who has become an inspiration for Christians across the country.

She sparked a national furor by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in June. Though she consented to interviews in the days when America was learning her name, she grew more selective after the conservative Liberty Counsel took her case. When she was freed from a Grayson, Ky., detention center earlier this month, she stood nearly silent at a rally just outside the jailhouse, where hundreds gathered in her honor as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) praised her. Davis was ordered by a federal judge to issue the licenses but refused, and spent five days in jail for continuing to defy the order, propelling her to folk hero status among some on the religious right.

Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher running for president but trailing badly in the polls, rushed to Davis’ side, visited her in jail and held a religious freedom rally on the jailhouse lawn. Davis meanwhile lumps blame for her legal problems on Steve Beshear, the state’s Democratic governor, who refused to call the state legislature for a special session and allow lawmakers to hammer out a way to exempt religious clerks from issuing the licenses. Davis, who’d been the unelected deputy clerk for most of her working life, ran as a standard-bearer, and won by just 23 votes over Democratic activist Elwood Caudill Jr. But her legal woes persist: On the day she returned to the office, Davis altered the license forms to delete her name and her office, and replaced it with the line “pursuant to federal court order.” The American Civil Liberties Union, which sued her on behalf of the couples she turned away, questioned the validity of the licenses, asked the judge to order her to reissue them or consider punishing her again. Democrats make up 65 percent of the county’s 14,000 registered voters, but Davis’ switch is not a huge surprise because many Kentucky Democrats still represent the party of decades ago, which was long dominated by rural whites with conservative values.

But the state’s Democrats have grown frustrated with the national party’s shift on social and environmental issues, embracing gay marriage and abortion rights while acknowledging climate change and supporting new emission standards for coal-fired power plants. In an interview with Reuters Friday, Davis announced that she would become a Republican after “the Democratic Party left me.” Reached at home, Caudill said he had not heard of the party switch. “It doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “It’s up to her what party she joins. But since 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president, Republicans have added 183,635 registered voters in Kentucky while Democrats have added 23,957 during the same time period. This week she invited ABC News in for an interview, showing the “at least 20,000” pieces of supportive mail sent since her ordeal. “I’m here for a short while in preparation for an eternity,” she said. “And by eternity, I mean, that’s what we’re here for.

While the state’s governor and five of its six statewide elected officers are Democrats, all but one of the state’s congressional delegation are Republicans and a Democratic presidential candidate has not won the state since Bill Clinton in 1996. It’s a heaven or hell issue for me.” “This is going to be the highlight, I think, of the weekend for me,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins as he introduced Davis, who couldn’t hold back tears as she moved toward the podium. In that moment, she looked out and began to cry, taking slow measured breaths with her hand over her heart. “Thank you all,” she mouthed to the crowd, finally smiling as the cheers rose. Davis’ registration has not yet been changed in the statewide voter registration system, said Lynn Zellen, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Secretary of State. There is no special process for elected officials to change their affiliation; she would simply file to run as a Republican come the next election, scheduled for 2018.

It was her turn to speak: “I feel so very undeserving,” she said, between tears, tissue at the ready. “I want to start by thanking my Lord and my savior Jesus Christ, because without him none of this would have ever been possible, for he is my strength that carries me.”

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