By Ernest A. Canning on 10/23/2013, 6:05am PT  

After what he describes as the Republican Party's victory of "pettiness and bigotry" over "pragmatism and principle", Bexar, Texas County Criminal Court Judge Carlo Key has decided to leave the GOP to run next year as a Democrat instead.

In a video posted to his website, Key, who was first elected in 2010, echoed and reversed Ronald Reagan's explanation for leaving the Democratic Party to become a Republican in 1962. "Make no mistake," Key says, "I have not left the Republican Party. It left me."

"I cannot tolerate a political party that demeans Texans based on their sexual orientation, the color of their skin or their economic status," Key explains in detailing some of his reasons for the party switch. "I will not be a member of a Party in which hate speech elevates candidates for higher office rather than disqualifying them. I cannot place my name on the ballot for a political party that is proud to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of federal workers over the vain attempt to repeal a law that would provide health care to millions of people throughout our country"...

Key's brief video, along with a text transcript of his remarks, follow below...

I have tried to live a life of principles. These principles have been shaped by mi familia, my community and my country. In fact, it is my dedication to these principles which has lead me to the law in the first place and has guided me to becoming a judge. These values are simple. I believe that justice demands fairness. It demands careful and intelligent probing of evidence. And above all else, justice can only be served without prejudice toward race, color, creed or whom you choose to love.

These principles have served as the bedrock upon which my rulings have been made. They are also my driving force. That is why I can no longer be a member of the Republican Party. For too long, the Republican Party has been at war with itself. Rational Republican beliefs have given way to character assassination. Pragmatism and principle have been overtaken by pettiness and bigotry. Make no mistake. I have not left the Republican Party. It left me.

I cannot tolerate a political party that demeans Texans based on their sexual orientation, the color of their skin or their economic status. I will not be a member of a party in which hate speech elevates candidates for higher office rather than disqualifying them. I cannot place my name on the ballot for a political party that is proud to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of federal workers over the vain attempt to repeal a law that would provide health care to millions of people throughout our country.

That is why I am announcing that I am now running for re-election as a Democratic candidate for County Court of Law 11 in the 2014 elections. My principles have led me to the Democratic Party. I can only hope that more people of principle will follow me. If you believe these values are your values, then I respectfully ask you to join me and let's work together to keep dignity, fairness and respect for rule of law in our county courts.