Ryan Guillen, a Texas state lawmaker, recently announced that he will be jumping the Democratic Party’s sinking ship and will hop aboard the Republican Party’s steadily expanding armada.
“After much consideration and prayer with my family, I feel that my fiscally conservative, pro-business, and pro-life values are no longer in-step with the Democrat Party of today, and I am proudly running as a Republican to represent House District 31,” Guillen told reporters.
The state representative, who was first elected to the Texas House in 2002, declared his decision to change camps, during a press conference alongside Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R).
.@RyanGuillen makes his party switch official w/ @GregAbbott_TX & @DadePhelan in Floresville.— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) November 15, 2021
“Friends, something is happening in South Texas, and many of us are waking up to the fact that the values of those in Washington, DC, are not the values of most Texans.” #txlege pic.twitter.com/x1MjDZExan
Guillen’s decision came after the Republican-led redistricting in the Lone Star State made Guillen’s district, which was already Republican-leaning, reliably red territory. The Tribune noted.
According to the ideological rankings created by Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University’s James A. Baker Jr Institute for Public Policy and a political science fellow, Guillen was considered the least-liberal Democrat within the Texas caucus. This ranking was published earlier in the month.
According to the Tribune, Guillen didn’t travel with the majority of his fellow Texas lawmakers when they fled Texas for Washington, D.C. in the midst of intense legislative battles over a broad elections bill. In an attempt to deny Republicans the quorum necessary to convene a special legislative assembly and to take up the controversial bill, members of the caucus were absent for approximately two months.
Guillen broke with his party when he voted against a bill to ban transgender student athletes joining teams that were correlated with their gender identity, according to Tribune. Guillen was the only Democrat who voted for the measure, which was eventually passed by Abbott.
Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner blasted Guillen for turning his back on his party due to his inability to fight the GOP.
“Republicans cynically gutted Rep. Guillen’s district in the redistricting process, showing complete disrespect for both him and his constituents. Usually, people in Ryan’s position would choose to fight. Instead, he has chosen to join them,” Turner stated.
On the other hand, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel welcomed with open arms the news of Guillen switching sides.
“The Republican Party is the party of faith, freedom, and opportunity, and we will continue to stand for these ideals in Texas and across the country. With trailblazers like Representative Guillen, we will continue to make gains in South Texas and grow the party on our way to victories up and down the ballot in 2022,” she said.