Massey announces political party switch
Citing a difference in beliefs, County Commissioner Rayburn Massey announced this week that he was leaving the Democratic Party.
"For the life of me, I don't understand where the Democratic Party is going, but I can no longer support it and continue to be a Christian," he said.
Massey said the differences he has with the party stems from certain issues the national platform stands on, such as abortion and gay rights.
"I can't be a part of the Democratic party anymore," he said. "From this moment forward, Rayburn Massey is a Republican."
Massey served as a Democrat for the past four years and sought re-election as a member of the party this year before losing that bid.
"I enjoyed serving this term on the county commission as a Democrat," he said. "I don't feel like I'm leaving the Democratic Party, I feel like the Democratic Party left me."
Jerry Fancher, chairman of the county's Republican Executive Committee, issued a statement welcoming Massey to the party.
"We welcome Franklin County Commissioner Rayburn Massey to the Republican Party," Fancher said.
"Rayburn has served as the District 3 commissioner always putting the interest of the citizens of Franklin County first.
"We believe the principles the Republican Party is built on truly reflect the principles of Commissioner Massey, the citizens of Franklin County, Alabama and the United States."
During the commission meeting Tuesday when Massey made the announcement, Commissioner Gene Graham said he questioned why Massey's race was the only one not to feature Republican opposition.
"It's just something I wonder about," Graham said.
Brian Hamilton, chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Executive Committee, said he questioned Massey's comments about not being able to remain a Democrat while being a Christian.
"I would remind you that he did not have a religious objection to running as a Democrat four years ago or serving as a Democrat the past four years," Hamilton said.
"He did not have a religious objection to seeking re-election as a Democrat. In fact, it is apparent now that Mr. Massey is not even familiar with our platform, despite having a close family member serving on our executive committee. Otherwise, he would have known that there is no statement of support in our platform for the issues cited by him.
"When you live in a relatively small, close knit county like ours, you really get to know the citizens and the elected officials. You are able to witness first hand their values and their faith. I know the elected Democrat officials in Franklin County are Christians and so are their supporters."
Massey said his comments were not meant to imply that local Democrats are not Christians, he simply disagreed with some of the issues of the national platform.
"I did not mean to judge anyone and certainly didn't mean to imply that local Democrats are not Christians," he said.
"I just look at issues on the national level, such as abortion and gay rights, things I do not believe in, and I am not comfortable being a part of an organization like that.
"That's why I am making this move."