AUGUSTA – A Republican who unseated a three-term Democratic incumbent in a disputed election in the Maine House last year switched ranks to join his former opponent’s party Monday.
Rep. Stan Moody formally registered as a Democrat at the Manchester Town Hall, beating a Dec. 31 deadline for changing his party affiliation. His name will appear on the ballot next year as a Democrat.
Moody’s decision does not change the balance of power.
With the switch, Democrats enjoy an 80-66 lead over Republicans in the House. One seat is held by a Green and three by unenrolled members. One seat is vacant after the resignation of Rep. Marie Laverriere-Boucher, D-Biddeford.
Democrats also control the Senate 18-17.
House Majority Leader John Richardson welcomed Moody into the Democratic Party, saying Moody had demonstrated a commitment to collaboration and putting the interests of constituents above party politics.
Richardson said he had counseled Moody to join the Democratic caucus to achieve his economic development goals.
“Stan understands that what is good for labor is not bad for business and what’s good for business is not bad for labor. It is what we have been saying as Democrats for some time,” Richardson said.
Moody, whose district includes Manchester, Readfield, Mount Vernon and Belgrade, narrowly defeated then-Rep. Elaine Fuller in the 2002 election.
Moody was two votes ahead of Fuller in unofficial Election Day tallies for the District 80, but 10 votes were in dispute. After a recount, Moody was one vote ahead of Fuller, 2,156 to 2,155.
Fuller eventually conceded, saying she didn’t want to put voters through a special election.