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Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Switching Parties to Become a Republican

Republicans, not Democrats, rushed to Davis' defense after she refused to marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Rowan County.

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, D.C., 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 sparked a national firestorm by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after theSupreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in June.

RELATED: Kim Davis Is Altering Marriage Licenses, ACLU Says

Davis was ordered by a federal judge to issue the licenses but refused, and spent five days in jail for continuing to defy the order, propelling her to folk hero status among some on the religious right.

Republicans, not Democrats, came to Davis' defense.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher running for president but trailing badly in the polls, rushed to Davis' side, visited her in jail and held a rally saying it was unfair the government would not accommodate her beliefs. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also traveled to Kentucky to bask in her defiance.

A judge ultimately freed Davis on the condition she not interfere with her deputies issuing the licenses.

Image: File photo of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis celebrating her release from the Carter County Detention center in Grayson Kentucky
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, flanked by Republic presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (left), Attorney Mathew Staver (second right) and her husband Joe Davis (right) celebrates her release from the Carter County Detention center in Grayson, Kentucky September 8, 2015.CHRIS TILLEY / Reuters

She 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.

RELATED: Kentucky Clerk Opposed to Gay Marriage Going Back to Work

Democrats make up 65 percent 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 dominated by rural whites with conservative values.

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.

Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has refused to back Davis, despite Davis' and others repeated requests to call a special session of the state legislature so they could pass a law exempting Davis from having to issue marriage licenses.

And Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee for governor, has said Davis should follow the law and did not object when a judge put her in jail.