DaVita CEO Kent Thiry leaves GOP, registers unaffiliated to ‘reduce partisan gamesmanship’

Author: Ernest Luning - December 8, 2017 - Updated: December 10, 2017

DaVita Inc. President and CEO Kent Thiry (Photo courtesy Thiry via Twitter)DaVita Inc. President and CEO Kent Thiry (Photo courtesy Thiry via Twitter)

After spending eight months as a Republican, Kent Thiry, the multimillionaire CEO of Denver-based dialysis giant DaVita Inc., has changed his voter registration back to unaffiliated with the hope of combating excessive partisanship, Colorado Politics has learned.

Earlier this year, he considered but ultimately decided against running for governor as a Republican after spending millions of dollars to pass two ballot measures last year, including one to let unaffiliated voters participate in Republican and Democratic primaries.

Thiry, who is heading an effort to change how Colorado draws legislative and congressional boundaries, said Friday his return to the ranks of unaffiliated voters is intended to help reduce rampant partisan polarization and gridlock.

“I have been a registered independent for most of the last 20 years,” he said in a statement to Colorado Politics. “I highly value my independence and therefore am returning to that status. While I have huge respect for the members of both parties, we simply have to reduce the current amount of partisan gamesmanship. I hope I can help to do that.”

Thiry first registered as a Republican at the end of March and changed his registration back to unaffiliated at the end of November, according to state records.

When he announced his decision in July to pass on a run for governor, Thiry said he and his wife plan to “eagerly support centrist candidates, common sense causes and other efforts that promote collaborative governance, and the ideal that principled compromise in the name of progress is vastly different from compromising your principles.”

Thirty announced in late October that he would head Fair Districts Colorado, a bipartisan organization backing ballot measures intended to reform how the state tackles reapportioning statehouse seats and redistricting congressional district seats every decade after the census. The proposals would give unaffiliated voters — at a hair under 1.4 million, they’re the largest bloc of the state’s 3.7 million voters — greater say in how the lines are drawn.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.

One comment

  • DonRS

    December 9, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Good bye, Kenny boy. We won’t miss you. Your move was just another self-aggrandizing move, as are most of the things you do.

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