Broward elected official leaves Republican Party, becomes Democrat

Dan Daley, a member of the Coral Springs City Commission considered by many a future star for higher office, has left the Republican Party and is now a Democrat.

“I was uncomfortable in the Republican Party and wanted out,” he said in a telephone interview.

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Daley, 25, had been a Republican since he became a registered voter at age 18. He said he quietly switched to the Democratic Party in February — initially not even telling his mother — and announced the switch Thursday on Facebook and in an email to supporters with the subject line “New Home, Same Commissioner.”

“There are a number of reasons why I did it,” he said. “I didn’t feel comfortable any more in my own skin. While I respect the beliefs of a lot of my friends in the Republican Party, I don’t share them any more. You look at a lot of issues, particularly social issues, and I don’t believe that. I think I am better suited to the Democratic Party.”

Daley cited high-profile issues of same-sex marriage and abortion, which are opposed by many Republicans. “It’s kind of all the social issues,” he added. “I believe in less government, and that means in all realms.”

That means, Daley said, “if a gay couple wants to get married, more power to them.” And, he said, “an outright ban on abortion is a tough issue. While I may personally be pro-life, I don’t think that’s a decision that the government should be making.”

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Daley was elected to the Springs commission in 2012, where he said his decisions haven’t been based on partisan politics.Commissioners are elected without party labels, but the commission had a Republican majority when he was first elected. Today, he said, it has three Democrats — including Daley — one Republican and one independent.

Daley can run for re-election one more time, in 2018, to a four-year term, and serve a maximum of 10 years before term limits would force him off the commission. State Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat whose district includes Coral Springs, is term-limited in 2020.

Daley said he didn’t switch parties to prepare for a future political run and doesn’t know where his career will go next.

“My biggest concern is I think everything is headed in the right direction as a city and I just want to continue to make sure it stays that way. To directly answer your question, I don’t know. I can tell you it’s not a factor in this decision,” he said.

Daley isn’t completely new to the Democratic world. As a Republican, he served for four years as an aide to former state Rep. Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs, an experience he said first gave him the idea that Democrats weren’t so bad and planted seeds of doubt about the Republican Party. (Porth is now a Broward Circuit Court judge.)

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He said he made the party switch quietly — and not close to an election — because he didn’t want a spectacle. He said he was encouraged to switch during last year’s gubernatorial campaign, but he said he didn’t want to make in an issue in which people would question his motives. I wanted the least controversial time to do it if there ever is one.”

And, he said, he doesn’t want to publicize the departure from his previous party with a parting blast. “I don’t want any bad blood. I still have friends in the Republican Party. I want to keep those friends,” he said. “We’ll see if those true friends are.”

aman@sunsentinel.com, 954-356-4550

Here’s the letter Daley emailed and posted Thursday afternoon:

I find myself at a crossroads. Torn between what I feel and believe and what a party affiliation dictates. I switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party at the end of February. I switched without telling anyone (not even my mother) because I don’t think someone should be defined by party affiliation. I didn’t want to make a spectacle out of my decision and wanted to show that switching parties would not, and did not impact my ability to govern as a Coral Springs City Commissioner. I still have friends in the Republican Party, and while I respect their beliefs, I do not share all of them.

I look forward to joining the Democratic Party. I welcome the opportunity to join old friends and make new ones. Having had the opportunity to work for former State Representative Ari Porth, I feel comfortable and confident that I can find a home in the Democratic Party.

Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/fl-dan-daley-democrat-20150430-story.html?track=rss

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