An Arizona state senator has jumped off the Democrat bandwagon and joined the Republican party.

Citing the values of self-determination and self-empowerment, Carlyle Begay announced his decision earlier this week.

The Arizona Republic reports:

Carlyle Begay, a Democrat who was often viewed as the state Senate’s 18th Republican, officially joined the GOP Monday.

The announcement, attended by a bevy of Republican elected officials, surprised no one and makes no substantive change to the power dynamics in the Arizona Legislature.

But it does give the GOP bragging rights and a chance to make a run at winning over Native American voters in next year’s elections.

Begay, a Navajo from Ganado, told The Arizona Republic that the Republican Party better reflects the values of self-determination and self-empowerment that he holds and wants to emphasize to his district, which includes the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

Begay’s message of self-determination and -empowerment is a sharp rebuke of Democrats’ identity politics and big government “solutions.”

The Arizona Republic continues:

“I want to help the Republican Party build a bridge with those who need and want a chance with those who can provide that chance,” Begay told reporters at a packed news conference attended by U.S. senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, GOP Chairman Robert Graham, Senate President Andy Biggs and more than half of the GOP Senate caucus.  His main job, Begay said, is to provide a voice for tribal communities and rural areas “but not through the lens of a political ideology.” He said he votes based on what he thinks is best for his constituents, leaving aside party labels.

Watch state Senator Begay’s (D) (R) video announcement.


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