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Republican Colorado State Senator switches parties, cites election-deniers as a motivation to change

BRIGHTON, Colo. (KRDO) -- Monday, a Colorado State Senator announced his intent to change his party registration from Republican to Democrat. In a two-page letter released on Twitter, Senator Kevin Priola explains the reasons behind the switch, including 2020 election deniers.

In the letter, Sen. Priola explains that he first became a Republican in 1990 after Ronald Reagan. He explained in the last 30 years he hasn't changed, but his party has.

He went on to say he wasn't surprised that former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, saying voters expressed "deep concern and dissatisfaction with him, and his political theater."

Sen. Priola brought up the January 6th attacks on the U.S. Capitol, saying he watched the events "with horror."

In the letter, Sen. Priola said "I felt that clearly this would be the last straw and that my party would finally distance itself from Donald Trump and the political environment he created. Week after week and month after month, I waited for that response; it never came. To my dismay, brave and honorable Republicans like Mike Pence, Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, and Adam Kinzinger have fought to defend the constitution and rule of law only to be met with ridicule and threats. Fear-mongering to raise money or motivate voters is nothing new, but it has been taken to a dangerous and destabilizing level. 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."

He went on to accuse the Republican Party of "choosing to ignore" the attack on "our democratic system."

Sen. Priola said the Republican Party he joined decades ago created national parks, preserved federal lands, and protected wildlife, however, today he said his Republican colleagues "would rather deny the existence of human-caused climate change than take action."

He went on to say, "With a near year-round wildfire season here in Colorado and a seemingly never ending drought upon us, Coloradans are already feeling the effects of the climate change, and I believe it's immoral to saddle the next generation of Coloradans with even worse impacts. Yet my Republican colleagues consistently, and proudly, seek to impede progress on any reasonable climate measures the legislature has undertaken - and I can't, in good conscience, be silent about that."

Sen. Priola said those are the reasons he's chosen to change his party registration. He explained he will begin caucusing with the Democrats instead of the Republicans.

However, he said, he will not change the way he votes on legislation.

He ended the letter by saying, "Simply put, we need Democrats in charge because our planet and our democracy depend on it. It continues to be the honor of a lifetime to serve my constituents, and I will continue to fight, first and foremost, for their best interests. I believe my decision to align with truth over conspiracy is indicative of that commitment."

To read his full letter, click here.

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