Attorney Eric Reyes, former candidate for U.S. Representative for the 17th Congressional District of Illinois, is announcing his intentions to align with the Republican Party. He has been a lifelong and active Democrat.
Illinois does not provide for party registration until one votes in a party primary or submits nominating papers as a candidate, according to Mr. Reyes. He states that he has been meeting with members of the Republican Party and has been received very favorably.
“While I have not decided what, if any, office I may seek in the future, it is virtually certain I will be doing so as a Republican and I have already committed to helping the party reach out to new constituencies that it has not been successful reaching in the past” said Mr. Reyes.
Eric Reyes registered for the democratic primaries for the 17th District congressional seat last year. Then bowed out of the primaries and decided to run as an independent on the general elections last November. His name was not on the ballot after a group of Democrats successfully challenged his candidacy after he failed to collect the 5,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot. He ran as a write-in candidate.
The GOP presidential primaries and Romney’s campaign alienated many Hispanic voters with their harsh stand on immigration. And although Latinos handed Democrats a decisive victory in the 2012 election cycle, many also feel that support has been and will continue to be taken for granted. This coupled with an increasing number of Latinos identifying as Independent voters, present an opportunity for the GOP to re-brand itself to Hispanics- an opportunity that is widely regarded as vital to the party’s future.
Mr. Reyes says the GOP has a history of doing much for the Latino community, citing President Ronald Reagan as a particular example. In 1986, Regan Reagan’s 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act granted amnesty to 2.9 million undocumented immigrants.
Like Reagan, Reyes sees himself as a fiscal conservative but more centrist on social issues. He supports marriage equality- a stance more in touch with 40% of Americans. Though personally pro-life, he does not believe that the government should interfere with a woman’s right to choose what is best for her when faced with an unintended pregnancy, especially in cases of rape and incest. In the same spirit of small government, Mr. Reyes also backs legalization of cannabis. Recent polls indicate nearly 60% of voters support legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.
Mr. Reyes also joined organizers at Sensata Technologies who protested against the company’s plans to move its 170 jobs to China. He previously represented IBEW Local 145.
Although announcing plans to align with the Republican Party, he has a history of working with people of diverse racial backgrounds and political affiliation. Said Mr. Reyes, “America doesn’t deed to move left & we don’t need to move right, we need to move forward.”