Former assemblyman, San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher joining Democratic Party

SAN DIEGO - Former assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is joining the Democratic Party.  

The announcement was made in an email sent out to supporters and also posted on Fletcher's Facebook page.

"I'm really excited to join the party I believe not only reflects my values but has the best plan for America," Fletcher told 10News on Saturday evening.

Fletcher was elected to the State Assembly as a Republican in 2008. During his tenure in Sacramento, he spearheaded Chelsea's Law, which was named after local murder victim Chelsea King.

In March of last year, midway through his campaign for San Diego mayor, he switched from Republican to Independent and has now moved to the Democratic Party.

Fletcher's announcement on his Facebook page is lengthy. He describes what led him to his decision and some hesitation in announcing it.

"I was reluctant to make this move," Fletcher wrote. "It wasn't due to any doubt about where I belong. It was simple dread over the criticism I would face."

Fletcher said the turning point in deciding to join the Democratic Party came after a conversation he had with a member of parliament from Myanmar, which is called Burma. That man took Fletcher to task for being an Independent.

"'It doesn't mean anything,'" the man said. "'It conveys no values.'"

Fletcher said he thought about that and finally came to this conclusion.

"My votes and positions, candidates I endorsed and voted for had been in line with the Democratic Party. I told him I'd watched President Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention three times trying to find something I disagreed with. I couldn't. It was clear – at least to me – that I was a Democrat."

Rep. Juan Vargas, a close friend, said he met with Fletcher several times about his second political change of heart.

"I couldn't wait for him to tell people," said Vargas.

When asked if becoming a Democrat meant there that was another run for office in his future, Fletcher answered, "I have no idea. I don't have any plans to run for anything now."

Vargas said, "If he doesn't run for office at some point I'm going to be very, very disappointed. I mean, this is the type of guy that has the talent that he really could become president of the United States."

Political consultant John Dadian does not feel Fletcher's shift from Republican to Independent to Democrat will hurt him in the eyes of the average voter.

"The rumor is going around is that he is already contemplating a statewide run," Dadian said.

In fact, he thinks Fletcher's political future just got brighter.

"The Democratic Party holds every single statewide constitutional office but they also have term limits and he's a very young man and in four or eight years, these offices will be open," said Dadian.

Although Fletcher dreaded making the announcement because of the criticism he would face, he is getting quite the welcome from former political rivals.

"It's like we got John Elway," said Vargas. "It's great. Let's go win a Super Bowl."

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