RALEIGH, North Carolina — An Iraq War veteran campaigning for Congress in eastern North Carolina against U.S. Rep. Walter Jones has changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat, saying the tea party has made the GOP too extreme.
In a statement on his website Thursday, former U.S. Army Sgt. Jason R. Thigpen said the recent federal government shutdown triggered his switch.
"I simply cannot stand with a party where its most extreme element promote hate and division amongst people," said Thigpen, 36. "Nothing about my platform has, nor will it change. The government shutdown was simply the straw that broke the camel's back. I guess being an American just isn't good enough anymore and I refuse to be part of an extremist movement in the GOP that only appears to thrive on fear and hate mongering of anyone and everyone who doesn't walk their line."
Such a switch is not unprecedented. Third District incumbent Jones pulled off the reverse move in 1994, becoming a Republican after losing a Democratic primary two years earlier.