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Republican to party: I quit!

Frustrated by bigotry, extremism and the government shutdown Texas Republican Judge Carlo Key has left the GOP.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

Frustrated by bigotry, extremism and the government shutdown Texas Republican Judge Carlo Key has left the GOP.

Frustrated by bigotry, extremism and the government shutdown, yet another Republican has left the party. The latest is Carlo Key, a Texas judge, who released a video Sunday explaining his decision to switch parties and join Democrats, saying the Republican Party has left him. 

"Justice can only be served without prejudice toward race, color, creed, or whom you choose to love," the Bexar County judge said in his re-election video. "These principles have served as the bedrock upon which my rulings have been made. They are also my driving force. That is why I can no longer be a member of the Republican Party."

Key specifically juxtaposes his opposition to the party with the recent actions of fellow Texan Ted Cruz, showing video and headlines of the senator as he talks about the death of "rational Republican beliefs" in the GOP.

"For too long the Republican Party has been at war with itself. Rational Republican beliefs have given way to ideological character assassination," he said.

"Pragmatism and principle have been overtaken by pettiness and bigotry."

"Make no mistake, I have not left the political party, it has left me," he added. "I cannot tolerate a party that demeans Texans based on their sexual orientation, the color of their skin, or their economic status." 

Key also called out fellow San Antonion Republican Elisa Chan, a city councilwoman who was caught on tape in a homophobic rant earlier this year. After those comments were made public, she announced she would run for state Senate. 

"I will not be a member of a party in which hate speech elevates candidates for higher office, rather than disqualifying them," Key said, admonishing Chan. “I cannot place my name on the ballot for a political party that is proud to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of federal workers over the vain attempt to repeal a law that will provide healthcare to millions of people throughout our country.”

On his Facebook page, Key celebrated his switch to the party with a photo showing him alongside fellow Democrats like Trey Fischer-Martinez -- a state representative who joined a small White House meeting on the Voting Rights Act this summer -- and Rep. Joaquin Castro. 

"My principles have led me to the Democratic Party," he added. "I can only hope that more people of principle will follow." 

Key joins a handful of Republicans who've left the party in recent months and years. In May, a former RNC Latino outreach director took a stand "against the culture of intolerance" by announcing he would leave the GOP. The co-chair of the Polk County Republican Party listed "hateful" rhetoric in his reasoning when he left the party this August. Higher profile party leaders like Lincoln Chafee and Charlie Crist left the GOP to become independents in 2010, only to join the Democratic Party eventually. 

Judge Carlo Key will join Rev. Al Sharpton on PoliticsNation Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET to discuss his decision to leave the GOP in more detail. Tune in.