A North Carolina House Democrat has changed party affiliation.
Rep. William Brisson, representing District 22 which includes Bladen, Johnston and Sampson counties, announced last week that he is changing his affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
Brisson said that he was on the fence about shifting parties for several years, but that recently the party had just became far too liberal for him.
“All of my district is rural, and a lot of my constituents are,” said Rep. Brisson. “I’ve been getting a lot of pressure from my constituents in the past few years to change. I don’t have a lot in common with the Democratic Party right now because they have become so liberal.’
North Carolina Democratic Party Dismisses Move
The North Carolina Democratic Party was quick to dismiss Brisson’s move and the statement by the Democratic Party chairman stopped short of calling him a fake Democrat.
“Representative Brisson is an honest public servant, but one who rarely caucuses with Democrats and votes more than nine out of ten times with the Republican majority. Our party remains committed to fighting for every seat possible in order to retake the majority by 2020. Under fairer maps in 2018 we are confident we will break the Republican supermajority. Our goal is to provide Governor Cooper with a Democratic Caucus that will stand with him in fighting to improve education, grow the economy, and ensure North Carolinians are ready for the jobs available today and created tomorrow. Today’s news does not change the calculus needed to reach that goal.” – North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin
The statement continued, attacking Brisson’s voting patterns and his district’s voting history. The statement concluded, characterizing the Brisson move as a ‘so what’ moment by citing two judges who switched to Democrat this year.
House Democrat Votes Aye More than Nay
As a House Democrat, Brisson’s voting record had more aye’s than nay’s. Brisson’s voting record shows he voted with his republican counterparts around 92% of the time. That’s not surprising given the districts he represents are majority conservative – which the NC Democratic Party was quick to point out in their statement.
As the NC Democratic Party helpfully pointed out, nationally, Brisson’s district has consistently voted for republicans when it comes to national candidates. In 2012, Romney won the district over Obama 56% to 44% for. During the 2016, the Brisson’s district went 59% to Trump and 40% to Clinton.
Brisson was one of the eleven to vote yes to House Bill 2 and was one of the five democrats who voted to pass the 2017 budget, which Governor Cooper vetoed.
Rep. Brisson also stood out as the only democrat to vote yes on the GenX bill, House Bill 56. The bill set aside $435,000 to local authorities such as the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority instead of giving the money to state run agencies to treat and remove chemicals such as GenX being discharged into the Cape Fear River and it’s basin.
NC GOP Welcomes Brisson
While the North Carolina Democrats didn’t seem to care Brisson left their party, the NC GOP was happy to welcome him.
“Rep. Brisson has been a hardworking and conservative voice in our state legislature for quite some time now,” said Robin Hayes, the NC GOP Chairman. “We are elated with his decision to switch his registration to a party that will better serve himself and his constituents. I look forward to working with him to spread Republican values and make the 22nd district the best that it can be.”