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GOP state senator in Colorado switches parties, cites election conspiracy theories

DENVER Citing alarm toward the Republican Partys widespread embrace of 2020 election conspiracies, a moderate GOP Colorado state senator has switched his affiliation to Democrat, enhancing that partys prospects to retain its majority in the chamber in the November midterms.

Kevin Priola, who represents Adams County in Denvers suburbs, said ina letterMonday he was horrified by the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol and had waited in vain for his party to repudiate it in addition to former President Donald Trump, who continues to insist that it had been stolen.

It never came, Priola said. To my dismay, brave and honorable Republicans like Mike Pence, Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney and Adam Kinzinger have fought to guard the Constitution and the rule of law and then be met with ridicule and threats.

I cannot continue being section of a political party that’s okay with a violent try to overturn a free of charge and fair election and continues to peddle claims that the 2020 election was stolen, Priola said.

Numerous assertions that the presidential election was stolenhave shown false.

Pence,the former vice president, has been vilified in the GOP for certifying the outcomes of the 2020 presidential race in the hours following the insurrection.Romneyhas been a target of Trump-aligned Republicans hostile toward the Utah senator who’ve used his name to derisively brand their rivals Mitt Romney Republicans.” Kinzinger, an Illinois congressman, has been among Trumps fiercest critics.Cheney,who’s leading the investigation in to the insurrection as vice chair of the 1/6 committee, lost her Wyoming primary bid for reelection to Congress to a Trump-endorsed candidate the other day.

Priola is in his second term as circumstances senator and isn’t up for reelection in November. But his switch escalates the partys likelihood of keeping control of the chamber in the midterms, with Democrats now holding a 21-14 majority. Seventeen of the chambers 35 seats are up for election this season.

Priola also cited what he called the GOPs refusal to handle climate change. Today, my Republican colleagues would prefer to deny the existence of human-caused climate change than do something, he wrote.

Priola has often voted with Democrats on legislation designed to address climate change along with other issues. He said he’ll caucus with Senate Democrats but continue an unbiased streak which includes strong opposition to abortion.

Democratic Senate President Steve Feinberg and Gov. Jared Polis welcomed Priolas decision. State GOP reaction was swift, with party chair Kristi Burton Brown accusing Priola in a statement of lying to his constituents and saying: Priola will regret this decision when he could be in the minority come January 2023.

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