Evangelist Franklin Graham recently praised Texas lawmaker Ryan Guillen for switching his allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party after nearly 20 years of service in the state House of Representatives.
"I don't blame him one bit," Graham says. "Rep. Guillen is switching parties over the Democratic Party's left-leaning embrace of defunding the police and chaos on the southern border. He says the Democratic Party's far-left values are no longer in line with his own.
"Rep. Guillen said, 'many of us are waking up to the fact that the values of those in Washington, D.C., are not our values ...' I hope Americans—Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and everyone—will realize the dangers of leftist, socialist policies being pushed on us that are devastating our economy, taking our freedoms, and will turn our country into a socialist swamp of anti-Christ God-haters. Pray that our nation will wake up, like Rep. Guillen did, and change before it's too late."
Republicans are pressing to make inroads in South Texas, which has traditionally been a Democratic-dominated area.
"The ideology of defunding the police, of destroying the oil and gas industry and the chaos at the southern border is disastrous for those who live here in South Texas," Guillen said at a press conference earlier this week.
The last state lawmaker to change parties was Rep. J.M. Lozano of Kingsville in 2012. Guillen's decision to run for reelection under the GOP banner is a boon for Republicans who have been working to show new strength in South Texas after then-Presidential candidate Joe Biden underperformed there in 2020.
The Texas Tribune reported that Guillen is well known as an outlier, and that he is the "least liberal Democrat" in the Texas House.
"Everybody has known that Ryan Guillen is really a Republican who is attached the wrong label," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. "Ryan, we're glad you finally came out of the closet."
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