House Democrat switches to GOP

RALEIGH – Eastern N.C. Democrat Rep. William Brisson announced Wednesday that he will switch his party affiliation to Republican ahead of his run for a seventh term.

“I’m elated that Representative Brisson has decided to come over to become a Republican,” said Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Cateret) “He is not a party person. He is a person for his constituents. The GOP is a better fit for him. His constituents have conservative values – both socially and economically – and he has always been focused on voting the way his constituents believe.”

Brisson, 71, represents District 22 in N.C. which includes Bladen, Johnston and Sampson counties. He voted with Republicans on many key votes including the 2017 budget and supported the vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the budget. Brisson voted in favor of the ten overrides of Cooper’s vetoes since January, often as the only “aye” vote in the House Democrats. He was also the only Democrat to vote in favor of sending money to UNCW and the Cape Fear Public Utilities Authority to get started cleaning GenX out the the drinking water source and studying its effects. Most recently he voted to override Cooper’s veto of the Elections Freedom Act of 2017.

Brisson told local TV station WECT that he’s been under pressure from constituents to make the switch because he’d always considered himself a conservative Democrat but recently felt he had less in common with the state Democratic party as it had become too liberal.

Since the sudden announcement Wednesday morning, Twitter has been full of comments on the switch, including the NCGOP and House Republicans welcoming him to the team.

“Rep. Brisson has been a hardworking and conservative voice in our state legislature for quite some time now,” said NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes.  “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.”