Glen Cove City Councilman Roderick Watson has changed his registration from Republican to Democratic, giving Democrats a second seat on the seven-member council.
Watson made the change in August and it went into effect in December, Nassau County Board of Elections records show.
Watson had privately told some elected officials and others that he switched registration. He said he did not make a public announcement because it doesn’t change how he approaches issues as a councilman.
“Judge me on my voting record, not my party affiliation...,” Watson said in an interview after Tuesday night’s council meeting, when Newsday asked him about the change in parties. “I want Republicans who voted for me to know Rod Watson is the same person.”
Watson ran in 2015 on the Glen Cove United slate, made up primarily of registered Republicans who did not receive official party backing.
Watson, the council’s sole African-American member, said he still believes in the fiscally conservative principles that Glen Cove United put forth and is proud of running on what he called the most diverse slate in the city elections.
But he said many of his campaign supporters were Democrats and members of the Latino, black and LGBT communities, and he realized his stands on issues that affect them — as well as on issues such as abortion rights — are more in sync with the Democratic Party.
“I started realizing where my values are,” Watson said.
He said is not sure if he will run for re-election this year. Watson, 41, said he had been a registered Republican his entire adult life.