BIRMINGHAM, AL (WSFA) - Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright will run as a Republican for Alabama's 2nd congressional district seat.
Bright made the announcement at the Alabama Republican Party Headquarters in Birmingham Thursday morning saying he has always been a conservative and will be more effective in Washington as a Republican.
"I tried to be a Democrat, and I didn't do the job as a Democrat that I wanted to do," Bright said, "mainly because my beliefs are conservative and that kind of held me back."
Bright said he's now "aligning my political philosophy in line with the party," and cited other Alabama political leaders who have switched from the Democrat to the Republican party over the years.
"There's a lot of good people in Alabama. They don't really support people because of the labels. What they do is they support you because of your hard work," he explained.
Bright served in Congress from 2009 to 2011. He is also a former Montgomery mayor.
Martha Roby, a Republican, currently holds the 2nd District seat, which covers portions of Montgomery, Elmore, and Autauga counties and much of the southeastern portion of the state into the Wiregrass.
Roby defeated Bright in the 2010 general election.
Bright said if elected again, he'll push to reduce the deficit and work to get a balanced budget. He said he'll also push to get District 2 represented again on the Agriculture and Armed Services committees.
It didn't take long for reaction to start coming in following Bright's qualification for the race.
"Representative Roby is focused on doing the job that the people of Alabama's Second District sent her to Washington to do," said Roby spokesperson Emily Taylor-Johnson, "and she looks forward to discussing her clear conservative Republican record on the campaign trail."
"A candidate running as a Republican in Alabama who voted for Nancy Pelosi is definitely the most shocking news of the day – even in 2018," said Maddie Anderson, the regional press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Nancy Pelosi is the most unpopular political figure in the entire country and I look forward to watching Bobby Bright explain to Alabamians how exactly he supports both Pelosi and the tax-cutting GOP agenda."
Including Roby, other candidates to qualify for the race on the Republican side include Tommy Amason, Rich Hobson, and Barry Moore.
On the Democratic side, Tabitha Isner and Audri Scott Williams have entered the race.