Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, a longtime Democrat, says she is switching to the Republican Party because she feels abandoned by Democrats in her fight against same-sex marriage. Davis made the announcement while in Washington, DC, 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. "I've always been a Democrat, but the party left me," Davis said, according to Bansley. Davis will address the conservative group tonight. Davis was elected Rowan County clerk last fall as a Democrat. She replaced her mother, also a Democrat, who served as county clerk for 37 years. But Republicans, not Democrats, came to her defense when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in June.
So when a Reuters reporter asked her in Washington today about the support she'd received from the GOP, Davis revealed that she decided last week to switch her allegiances to the Republican ticket, her attorney, Mat Staver, wrote in a statement. Democrats make up 65% 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. Registered Democrats still outnumber registered Republicans in Kentucky. 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. (Read more Kentucky stories.)