Defeated gay Republican Scott Herman of Wilton Manors becomes a Democrat

Scott Herman of Wilton Manors, a gay Republican who this fall got clobbered in a run for a seat in the Florida Legislature, is now a Democrat.

“I switched parties,” said Herman, who recently ran in House District 94. Democrat Perry E. Thurston Jr. defeated Herman with 84 percent of the vote.

After more than 23 years as a Republican, Herman became a Democrat on Monday.

He said the state party ignored his campaign and, instead, sank thousands of dollars into an unsuccessful attempt to stop gay Democrat Joe Saunders from being elected to the House in Central Florida.

“After the treatment of RPOF, the way they treated all of us down here, ignoring us, we were not of value to the Republican Party,” Herman said.

Herman said that before he switched parties, he spoke with leadership of both parties in Broward, including the county’s gay Log Cabin Republicans club.

Herman said A. Jay (Andy) Eddy, a co-founder of the Broward Log Cabin club, spoke with him about staying in the GOP.

“I didn’t want to put Andy into a predicament. I listened to what they had to say,” said Herman, who plans to run a future campaign, this time as a Democrat. “The run for office is a given. It was never part of the thought process. I didn’t consider the advantages or disadvantages until the day of my decision.”

Eddy was a local mentor and campaign advisor to Herman, an Operation Desert Storm veteran who moved to South Florida a few years ago from North Carolina.

“He wanted me to remain his treasurer, and I said I can’t,” Eddy said. “I’m a member of the Republican Party Executive Committee.”

Herman said he hopes no one thinks his decision was a “political stunt.”

“It’s not something I take lightly,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to be an Independent in Broward. “If you’re involved in politics at all, as an elected or future candidate, you have to be either Republican or Democrat in these times,” he said.

Eddy reflected on Herman’s party switch and said it is hard to guess whether being a Democrat will advance his political future.

“We have Charlie Crist and we have Scott Herman,” Eddy said. “Sometimes down here, when you switch parties they look at you with skepticism.”

Eddy said he understands Herman’s disappointment with the statewide GOP and that even he has occasionally been asked to switch parties.

“I figure I do more good inside the Republican Party busting their chops than on the outside looking in,” Eddy said.