It was never altogether clear why the detail was important, but as Kim Davis gained national notoriety, her far-right backers emphasized her official Democratic Party affiliation. No one had accused conservative activists of partisanship, so Davis' party ties were largely irrelevant, but the fact that the anti-gay clerk was affiliated with Dems became a part of the story.
At least, that was
the case. As MSNBC's Emma Margolin noted
the other day, the nation's highest-profile county clerk has switched parties.
The Kentucky clerk jailed for bucking a federal court order that requires her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples said Friday that she and her family had switched to the Republican Party, many of its members having rallied behind her in recent weeks. “My husband and I had talked about it for quite a while and we came to the conclusion that the Democratic Party left us a long time ago, so why were we hanging on?” Davis told Reuters in an interview at a hotel in Washington, where she is being honored Friday by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. Davis said she switched political parties last week.
A spokesperson for the right-wing legal group representing Davis confirmed
to the Washington Post
that she'd officially made the change.
And all things considered, this was probably the most sensible professional move Davis has made in quite a while. She believes Democrats left her "a long time ago," and she's entirely correct -- Davis and the party have effectively nothing in common. A wide variety of high-profile Republicans have embraced her campaign, and even endorsed her willingness to defy court orders she doesn't like, so it stands to reason the clerk would align with the GOP.
Even John McCain is kinda sorta offering Davis his support
. TPM reported over the weekend:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he thought Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, was right to "exercise the dictates of her conscience." Reporters spoke to McCain, previously the Republican presidential nomination, at the Values Voter Summit, an annual conference for Christian leaders.
The Arizona Republican told reporters, "I do not believe that therefore she should violate the law. She should have just said, 'I refuse to do it.'"
A reporter, unsure what that meant, asked, "You think that Kim Davis could say, 'I don’t want to perform this'?" McCain replied, "Yes."
So, the GOP senator doesn't believe Davis should violate the law, so much as he believes Davis should refuse to follow the law. How creative.
As for why McCain would say any of this, note that the incumbent Republican is up for re-election next year and it's no secret that McCain is worried about the prospect of a primary opponent from the far-right.